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Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Konstantinos Tzoumas as ‘Victor Papadopulos’, O Drakoulas ton Exarheion (Dracula of Exarcheia) (1983).

Your Daily Dracula – Konstantinos Tzoumas as ‘Victor Papadopulos’, O Drakoulas ton Exarheion (Dracula of Exarcheia) (1983).

Victor Papadopulos (Konstantinos Tzoumas), slick-haired descendant or avatar of Dracula, has relocated from the Carpathians to Exarcheia, the Islington of Athens, and is either riffing on ideas from Phantom of the Paradise or prefiguring the premise of Rock ‘n’ Roll Frankenstein by exhuming dead musicians and cobbling them together into Mousikes Taxiarhies (Music Brigades), a patchwork band who play a mix of rock, new wave and Greek political folk.  The front man (Tzimis Panousis) escapes with Dracula’s daughter Ioulieta (Isavella Mavraki) and goes on a rambling low comedy tour of post-Colonels Athens, climaxing in a big, messy live concert.

Meanwhile, militant leftwing zombies have risen from the grave to protest Frankenstein-cum-Dracula’s misuse of their remains for his experiments.  And a few sketch-like cutaways evoke the spirit of The Groove Room or The Kentucky Fried Movie, with bits about a bored condom saleswoman who lets customers test the products with her and a John Belushi lookalike minion who disguises himself as a mermaid.  Panousis, a singer-comedian rather than an actor, throws himself completely into the role of anarchic monster prankster, but there’s an edge of misogyny and homophobia to his scattershot attacks on the trendy left.  At one point, he appears as a performer at a meeting of an arch feminist conspiracy group and is harassed into stripping then descended upon by frenzied women.

Director Nikos Zervos, who also worked in the script with Panousis and others, plainly wasn’t much interested in the international market when he made this.  It feels a little like Alex Cox’s Straight to Hell (Tzoumas, oddly, is an Alex Cox lookalike) or the duffer episodes of The Comic Strip Presents in its relentless mean-spirited in-jokery and wearisome knockabout.  Once in a while, it touches on something with an international profile – a funny riff about the films of Theodouros Angelopoulos – but it’s full of references to Greek politics, entertainment, fashions, music and attitudes circa 1983 that would require a lot of footnotes to explain but still might not actually be funny.

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