Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – José Ruiz Lifante, Tiempos Duros para Drácula (Hard Times for Dracula) (1976)

Your Daily Dracula – José Ruiz Lifante, Tiempos Duros para Drácula (Hard Times for Dracula) (1976)A putupon, melancholy Conde Drácula (José Ruiz Lifante) begs to be let in out of the rain and admitted to an asylum, where he pours out his recent woes to a psychologist (Miguel Ligero) … and we get flashbacks to humiliating incidents as the vampire tries to make his way in the modern world as played by the streets of Madrid and Buenos Aires.

Directed by Jorge Darnell, who also co-wrote with Solly Wolodarsky, this is a brief (73m) but still aimless collection of skits and sketches that become pretty wearisome after a while.  Though a few jokes feature magic, as a spell conjures up a topless victim Drácula then loses to his janitor, it’s as possible that the protagonist is just a delusional loon who thinks he’s the famous monster.  Among the downer incidents in the parade of would-be comic gloom.: an attempt to turn the castle into a haunted house attraction with sad bat-on-string effects, gigs acting in a toothpaste ad and an action film (which leads to Drácula getting one of his fangs knocked out), a futile visit to a dentist, snacking on a diabetic, a fun run in which Drácula forsakes his usual high-collared cape for a Mickey Mouse vest, cringy-even-for-1976 sit-com bits where Drac thinks he’s sighted a sexy young woman to bite only to find he’s homed in on a transvestite or an elderly lady, assault by a roomful of apparent feminists, an attempted suicide-by-cop invasion of the police chief’s house only for the cop to try to get the vampire to kill his (yes, large and stereotypically homely) wife, a brush with a park attendant and would-be vampire hunter, marriage to a gold-digger who just wants to write a salacious exposé and divorce him, a trip to the cinema where Jesus Franco’s Count Dracula is screening, a spell in a blond wig as a rock star, and quite a lot of wandering-the-streets self-pity, often accompanied by a funky version of the Funeral March.

The title might refer to Temp duri per I vampiri, the Italian vampire comedy with Christopher Lee and Renato Rascel.  The saturnine Lifante has worked in more serious horror – he was in Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, The Strange Love of the Vampires (as Vampiro Numero Uno) and Stuart Gordon’s Dagon.


3 thoughts on “Your Daily Dracula – José Ruiz Lifante, Tiempos Duros para Drácula (Hard Times for Dracula) (1976)

  1. Hi Kim
    This isn’t about the film under review but it is about a possible contribution to the Daily Dracula thread. Catalan director Albert Serra’s Historia de la meva mort (Story of My Death) features two narrative threads (one concerning Giacomo Casanova, the other Count Dracula) which eventually intersect. Serra seems to posit Casanova as a kind of Enlightenment figure with Dracula being something more atavistic. The count has relatively little screen time compared to the great lover. However the portrayal is very traditional. He sports a goatee like Stoker’s younger version (and several movie versions) and even wears a cape. The film is fairly accessible. I bought the DVD from Second Run (I’m pretty sure there is a Blu-ray) I haven’t seen anything else by Serra but this belongs pretty solidly to the European vampire art house tradition of the last fifty years (Jonathan, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, the Herzog Nosferatu etc) with its seriousness, elegant photography and deliberate pacing. I’d be interested in your opinion.

    Posted by ADM | June 18, 2021, 11:54 pm
  2. The Darnell film was one of three Dracula spoofs made in Spain more or less concurrently, in the wake of Mel Brooks’s YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. The other two were EL JOVENCITO DRÁCULA (directed by and starring the filmmaker-cinephile Carlos Benpar) and EL POBRECITO DRACULÍN, the last film by Juan Fortuny (CRIMSON), conceived as a vehicle for the grimacing Argentinean comic .Joe Rigoli, who was having some success in Spain at the time, mainly on TV ahd the nightclub circuit. Here he interacts with a host of seasoned Catalan comics/character actors, such as Ricard Palmerola, Victor Israel, Joan Borrás and “Pipper” (who was actually Valencian but had developed most of his career in Barcelona; same for Lita Claver, a Barcelona-based Aragonese).

    Posted by Ismael Fernández | June 22, 2021, 12:33 am

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: