Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Miguel Gurza as Count Frankenhausen, “Chanoc” vs el Tigre y el Vampiro (1972)

Your Daily Dracula – Miguel Gurza as Count Frankenhausen, “Chanoc” vs el Tigre y el Vampiro (1972)

Artist Angel Mora and writer Martin de Lucenay created the Chanoc comic strip in 1959 – the hero was a muscular fisherman of Mayan descent who tangled with the usual variety of crooks and fiends, accompanied by his white-moustached comedy sidekick ‘godfather’ Tsekub Baloyan (who, it seems, became the de facto lead of the strip).  In Chanoc (1967), Andres Garcia and Chano Urueta played the hero and Tsekub, but other actors replaced them as the series of adventure comedies trailed on into the 1970s.

This is the inevitable entry in which Chanoc (Gregorio Casal), Tsekub (German Valdez, aka Tin Tan), a brat (Raulito) and a chimp (Chucho-Chucho) tangle with cloaked, fanged Dracula type Count Frankenhausen (Miguel Gurza).  It’s possible Gurza is supposed to be the Count Frankenhausen played by Carlos Agosti in El Vampiro Sangriento/The Bloody Vampire (1962) and La Invasion de los Vampiros/Invasion of the Vampires (1963), but he could as easily be a knock-off of Count Lavud, Count Subotai or any other Mexican Dracula clone.  His particular gimmick is that he owns a tiger, but otherwise he acts pretty much like the standard cloaked, bloodsucking baddie.  Weird that his tiger gets billing over him – as if the 1931 Dracula were called Van Helsing vs an Armadillo and Count Dracula.

After introducing the vampire – transforming from a big rubber bat to a guy flapping his cloak in mid-flight – in a prologue where his nighttime attack on a citizen is complicated by Frankenhausen starting a fire in the poor victim’s house, some reels are spent (ie: wasted) on muscle-shirted Chanoc tolerating the silent movie-style antics of his annoying entourage.  Tin Tan works that ‘tache hard so he won’t be upstaged by the chimp.  A long stretch is devoted to diving with sharks – Chanoc’s USP was being a fisherman, remember – before getting to the area where the Count is picking on the population.

Raulito stays home and is replaced by the less irritating teenager Gloria (Marisa) and the Count has to cede ground to his witchy partner Cristina (Lina Martin), who features in a modestly effective moment as shifting shadows change her face from normal to fanged hideousness and back again.  The vampires get staked with minimal fuss, and even the tiger isn’t too much of a threat.  A tag scene in which the chimp sports fangs and a cape to put a fright into Tsekub is about as wild as it gets.  Directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares; scripted by Raul Martinez Solares and Rafael Perez Grovas.


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