20 August 2017

FABULOUS FILMS PRESENTS: VAMPIRA aka OLD DRACULA. (1974) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.



VAMPIRA. (1974) DIRECTED BY CLIVE DONNER. WRITTEN BY JEREMY LLOYD. STARRING DAVID NIVEN, TERESA GRAVES, PETER BAYLISS, NICKY HENSON, BERNARD BRESSLAW, JENNIE LINDEN, LINDA HAYDEN AND VERONICA CARLSON.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

The CARRY ON movies meet HAMMER HORROR in this deliciously saucy spoof vampire romp from FABULOUS FILMS LTD.
Sandra Harris, Cinehouse.

Woo-hoo, this spoof vampire comedy from 1974 is surely the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Although the clothes come off more than once before the credits roll, it must be said. I had great fun playing 'Guess the sexy Hammer Horror actress' while watching it as well, and so will you guys. Let's pop over to deepest, darkest Transylvania now for a closer look, and please make sure your necks are all pre-washed, we're dealing with a very fastidious Dracula here...!

David Niven, an actor who tends to get described a lot with words like suave, smooth, spohisticated, charming, dapper and debonair, plays Dracula or Count Vladimir here. The film was also known as OLD DRACULA in an attempt to cash in on the success of brilliant spoof horror comedy 'YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN,' starring the late Gene Wilder and written by Mel Brooks, but it never quite managed to scale the dizzy heights of its hilarious competitor.

This is still a great film, though, and David Niven does a smashing job as the slightly ageing Count who has opened his castle up to the public due to dwindling blood supplies. He brings charm and a delightfully deadpan wit to the role, and the way he riffs off his loyal manservant Maltravers is a sort of precursor to the tremendously funny rapport between Hugh Laurie as the idiotic Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as his butler Jeeves in P.J. Wodehouse's JEEVES AND WOOSTER, which of course came along a good bit later.

David Niven always looks like he should be clad in an immaculate quilted smoking jacket, complete with cravat and cigarette in a holder, standing in the middle of an enthusiastic crowd hanging on his every word at a fashionable party.

He'd be the centre of attention, naturally, with the stance of the polished raconteur, holding a martini with an olive in it and telling a spiffingly ribald anecdote that ends with the words: '...and then everyone left the hot-tub except for Ringo, Princess Margaret and me...!' That's a reference to THE SIMPSONS, by the way, one of the episodes starring Michael York, the new go-to posh English guy for the hit animated cartoon show.

Anyway, Dracula and Maltravers take blood from some boobylicious Playboy Bunnies that come to the castle on a visit. They use the blood to revive Dracula's long-dead lover Vampira, not to be confused with Maila Nurmi who played the Vampira character of her own creation in the Ed Wood cult film 'PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.' Confusingly enough, the film-makers here have decided to give Drac's missus the exact same name for some reason...!

The blood revives Vampira all right, but there's only one problem-o. Vampira is now black, where she used to be white. That's because one of the models they've swiped haemoglobin from is, in fact, black. It's an easy enough mistake to make, I suppose, haha.

Vampira's thrilled skinny with her new look but Dracula's not so keen. Dracula's a racist now, apparently, if you can believe that. They'll have to follow the models back to London to swap the black blood for, erm, some white blood. I think. That bit's a tad confusing and, of course, terribly racist as well, but films from that era are chock-full of casual racism so probably the best thing to do is to take it all with a pinch of salt.

Teresa Graves is the grooviest of groovy cats as the Black Vampira who's been on ice, as it were, since the 'Twenties. Check out her 'Black Bottom...!' Dear old Bernard Bresslaw from the CARRY ON movies is here too as the harassed agent of the busty models (although it's hard to feel TOO sorry for him!), and Nicky Henson is quite good too as the guy whom the sly Dracula uses to do his diabolical- diabolically funny- bidding.

My two favourite cameos are by gorgeous blonde Hammer actresses Linda Hayden (TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA) and Veronica Carlson (DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM
THE GRAVE). I'm friends with Veronica on Facebook, boast boast. She doesn't have a bull's notion who I am, haha, but at least I can say that she's my friend...! Both women have acted with possibly the best screen Dracula of all time, Christopher Lee, so it was really exciting to see them here.

Linda Hayden in particular looks utterly ravishing as a sexed-up German vampire hottie called Helga, with her fangs on permanent lookout for yummy necks to chow down on. She's an unbelievably good-looking woman and it's just a shame that she wasn't used more in the film.

As always, a bite from the Count seems to bring the kind of sexual ecstasy that us mere mortals don't have a hope in hell of attaining just by having normal old boring sexual intercourse. I'm gonna keep at it, though, just in case, because of course you never know your luck...

Anyway, the antics in London are funny and farcical and Dracula is perfectly at home in this groovy milieu, just like Christopher Lee was in DRACULA 1972 A.D. The one-liners are frightfully witty and a couple of the models obligingly get their perfect tits out for the lads, so some nudity of the upper frontal kind is guaranteed, as well as lashings and lashings of the red sticky stuff. Yes, I do mean raspberry jam. You gotta have raspberry jam in a film like this...

VAMPIRA is available to buy now on Blu-Ray and DVD from FABULOUS FILMS LTD. and FREMANTLE MEDIA ENTERPRISES. 


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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