Udo Kier is back and this time he’s an emaciated vampire. Egged on by his servant, Anton (Arno Juerging), the famous bloodsucker agrees to make the journey in the hopes of find many virgins amongst the highly religious people of the Italian country side. As the count rests, Anton seeks out possible blood donors. Learning of a family that has four unwed daughters the Count seeks refuge in their villa. Impressed with the regal sounding name of Dracula the father consents. It’s not long after the Count moves in before he realizes that the daughters are not as innocent as they look.
Working as a companion piece to Flesh for Frankenstein this X rated reworking of the Bram Stoker vampire tale ratchets up the sex and violence. Joe Dallesandro returns as yet another farm hand with an overeager libido. However, this time Dallesandro’s motives are not only sexual, but political. A communist flag hangs in his shed and he persistently talks of revolution and the spoiled life of the bourgeoisie daughters. All the while, he is making it with most of them and longing to make it with the others.
Working his way from one girl to the next Dracula sinks his teeth in each girl only to find himself violently ill from their non-virgin blood. The scenes of Udo Kier thrashing about the latrine, vomiting up blood are as gruesome as they are hilarious. Once again the comedy pushes the limits visually, but when Dallesandro’s politically incorrect character starts talking about his desires to rape the families youngest daughter and when actually does so to save her from Dracula’s fangs the film may slip over the line of good taste. At least that’s how it felt in a large audience that contained a healthy number of female viewers – something we rarely had at the summer screenings.
Personally, I’ve never had a problem with these moments, but then again I have a sense of humor that could certainly qualify me for a seat next to Satan. I sensed that others in the audience were more a gasp as their sensitive eyes and minds had not encountered a film like Blood For Dracula. The act of rape certainly is not a funny thing and what happens afterwards is too much of a spoiler to share here, but when you consider that Dallesandro’s farm boy forcefully has sex with this woman to save her from the fangs of a vampire there is an absurd twist of logic at play. Of course, the farm hand could have done a better job of explaining the situation to the daughter, thus giving her a choice, but that would be outside of his character, who is not the nicest guy in the world.
For those that felt shocked by Blood For Dracula, I almost felt the need to apologize, but then again, what do you expect? The point of the films we are showing is to drop a few jaws. If people don’t leave scratching their heads then I’ve done a poor job of picking the films. These films push the boundaries of good taste. They blur the lines between good and bad. They call into question the reasons we go to the movies. From dark fantasies to warped personal visions to bungled moral statements the films championed by Underground Cinema are always going to leave audiences perplexed, bewildered, and slightly offended. If you try to analyze these films and what the hell was going through the heads of those that made them you’ll just sprain your brain. Leave that kind of thinking for the classroom.