29 August 2016

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE AND THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA: A TERRIFYING DOUBLE REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE and THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA: A THRILLING DOUBLE BILL OF VAMPIRE FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS.

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE. (1970) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY BOB KELLJAN. MUSIC BY BILL MARX. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY ARCH ARCHAMBAULT.
STARRING ROBERT QUARRY, ROGER PERRY, MICHAEL MURPHY, MARSHA JORDAN, JUDY LANG, MICHAEL MACREADY, EDWARD WALSH AND DONNA ANDERS.

THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA. (1971) DIRECTED BY BOB KELLJAN. WRITTEN BY BOB KELLJAN AND YVONNE WILDER. MUSIC BY BILL MARX. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY BILL BUTLER.
STARRING ROBERT QUARRY, MARIETTE HARTLEY, ROGER PERRY, YVONNE WILDER, EDWARD WALSH, GEORGE MACREADY, RUDY DE LUCA, CRAIG T. NELSON, TOM TONER AND JESSE WELLES.

It's always fantastic fun discovering a new set of DRACULA films I've never seen, so this duo of COUNT YORGA movies fitted the bill nicely. I couldn't believe I'd never heard of Count Yorga, in fact, despite the fact that the films are nearly five decades old.

These two re-tellings of the DRACULA story put their own spin on Bram Stoker's classic horror tale from 1897 and they're the most fun I've had watching films in the vampire genre in a long time. So just who is this mysterious Count Yorga anyway, and what exactly is his deal? Let's find out...

He's incredibly handsome, for one thing. He's not quite up to Christopher Lee's standards in terms of smouldering sexuality but, let me tell you, he's not lagging too far behind at all in the sexy stakes. I must confess to being instantly attracted to him sexually in a 'Where the hell have YOU been all my life?' kind of way.

Played by horror actor Robert Quarry (1925-2009), he's a gorgeous, well-dressed Bulgarian Count in his mid-forties who's come over to America because, presumably, of the proliferation of beautiful young women there whose blood he can drink and whose minds and bodies he can control. Well, he is a vampire after all. That's what they do.

In both films, the first set in Los Angeles and the sequel in San Francisco, he lives in a fabulous house with to-die-for interiors and acres and acres of green rambling grounds attached. His manservant Brudah, hideously ugly but with a lonely sadness about him too, attends to his master's every need. Every vampire needs a Brudah to 'do' for them.

This might mean that Brudah has to kill people (intruders or his master's enemies, for example) and dispose of their bodies or even procure women for his master's insatiable lusts. And boy, does the Count suffer frequently from insatiable lusts...!

(By the way, I wasn't able to find out anything about Edward Walsh, the actor who plays Brudah in both films, but he does such a brilliant job that I would have loved to know more about him. If anyone has any information, please give me a shout.)

Anyway, back to the Count's insatiable lusts, heh-heh-heh. He is drawn only to the most beautiful of women and they are certainly drawn to him. They all have long hair and big doe eyes and flawless pert bosoms and, for the most part, they can't wait for him to sink his fangs into their soft white swan-like necks. Yeah, they're all big sluts for the Count, haha.

With men, he's charming, suave, sophisticated and stand-offish. He's the master of polite repartee and doesn't allow (never allows!) other men to get the better of him in a back-and-forth coversation situation. He doesn't need male friends or male company when he can have all the delightful pussy he wants. Ooops, I can't believe I just wrote pussy, my bad...!

Should I delete it, or are we all adults here, as witty and urbane and worldly-wise as the Count himself? We are? Okay, grand. I'll chance leaving it in so. I hope I don't start a trend for putting smutty words on the Internet, though. I think you'll agree with me when I say that the Internet is no place for smut...!

In both films, the Count is basically spiriting away to his mansion the most beautiful women of his acquaintance and turning them into the Un-Dead, leaving their frantically worried menfolk to search for them.

All trails lead surprisingly quickly to Count Yorga's gaff, where the menfolk have to get past the terrifying Brudah (who apparently suffers froms lusts of the flesh as unbridled as his horny master's, the naughty Brudah!) and Count Yorga's Un-Dead Brides before they can accomplish what they came for.

I think the sequel is actually better than the original simply because of the Count's posse of Un-Dead Brides, who only appear in the second film. They come up out of the ground in the cemetery at the bottom of the Count's overgrown garden in a spectacular scene at the start of the sequel.

They're wild-haired and dead-eyed and deadly, and from that point onwards they do the Count's evil bidding, including massacring an innocent household and abducting a beautiful young woman called Cynthia from this same household to be the Count's concubine. 

He even thinks he's fallen in love with this Cynthia, which is very bad news from the vampire's point of view. A vampire, exhibiting the weaker emotions? Oh dear me no, as the Vicar might say. That won't do at all.

I love the scene in the sequel where the poor Reverend Thomas is sinking into the Count's swampy burial ground whilst grumbling loudly to the serenely watching Count:

'You never had any intention of donating that twenty thousand dollars to the orphanage, you foul evil man...!' Damn straight he didn't, the big liar.

The film doesn't take itself too seriously and there's great craic in the sequel as COACH, otherwise known as the actor Craig T. Nelson, and his superior officer in the police force try to escape the loathsome clutches of the Brides, but everywhere they go, those nifty Brides get there first. Oh well. They do have supernatural powers, after all. Might as well use 'em if you've got 'em, I suppose.

There's a brilliantly funny scene in the first film too where Count Yorga seats himself on his nice comfy throne down in the basement coffin-room and watches while two of his Brides have sex with each other on his unspoken command. The look of smugness on his handsome face is hilarious. Can you imagine the unspoken commands he might have given?

'You are in my power, I order you two to make out together! Open your mouths when you kiss and don't just PRETEND to lick each other down there, I'll be able to see if you're faking it...!'

The scene in the first film where the truly beautiful Erica is greeting the Count for their sexual union is nearly as sexy and sensual as its counterpart scene in the Hammer version of DRACULA (1958) starring Christopher Lee, and that's really saying something.

By the way, speaking of sexy, in the sequel Count Yorga is seen watching television, which I thought was vaguely odd until I saw that it was the horror film THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970) starring the beautiful Ingrid Pitt as Carmilla that he was viewing. Hey, the guy obviously knows sexy...!

These two films, out now on Blu-Ray and DVD from ARROW in the form of THE COMPLETE COUNT YORGA COLLECTION, are a must-watch for fans of the vampire genre. It's such a shame that only two of them were ever made.

They have all the hammy fun and games, smooth caped 'n' fanged villains and sexy toothsome broads you need for a good watchable vampire flick. Apparently, these movies were huge successes at the American drive-ins back in the day. 

I certainly wouldn't have minded sharing a large popcorn with the classically handsome Count, who in a certain light resembles a youngish William Shatner. He's welcome to my kernel anytime, whatever that means...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com









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