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Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Joe Rigoli, El pobrecito Draculín (1977)

Your Daily Dracula – Joe Rigoli, El pobrecito Draculín (1977)

One of a cycle of Spanish Dracula/vampire-themed knockabout comedies, this is easy to get confused with El jovecinto Drácula (1976).  Veteran character actor Victor Israel (Horror Express, The Werewolf and the Yeti) plays a minion in both movies, which also have similar protagonists, goofy young men who are foulup descendants of the original Count.  After Young Frankenstein, this idea got all sorts of treatments from around the world, including Freddie Francis’s Son of Dracula (1973) and the French Dracula, pere et fils (1978).

Here, Draculín (Argentinian Jamie Farr lookalike Joe Rígoli) takes a nap in a coffin around the turn of the century and wakes up seventy years later in the basement of a raucous Barcelona-cum-Transylvania discotheque – prefiguring the Disco Draculas of Nocturna (1977) and Graf Dracula beißt jetzt auch in Oberbayern/Dracula Blows His Cool (1979).  Draculin secures his inheritance in a meet with his doddery lawyer (Rígoli in a pointless secondary role), who represents a lot of other monsters (including ‘el hombre lobo’, ‘Jack el destripador’ and Frankenstein).  Returning to his castle, he finds the place is now a hide-out for a trio of comical but mean jewel thieves (Ricardo Palmerola, Joan Borràs, Antonio del Castillo) and their drunk blonde moll Ludgarda (Josele Román).  The bumbling Draculin gets a pisspot emptied on his head and ineffectually stalks the castle while the crooks get on with their tiresome sub-plot, which includes bullying minion Vladimir (Israel).

Stereotype sissy Ivan (Kenneth Connor lookalike Conrado Tortosa, billed as ‘Pipper’) shows up with his sister Agatha (Lita Claver) and their friend Myriam (Sitta Schvre) to seek shelter and farcical business ensues.  When his traditional outfit – a cape lined with bright red silk which he keeps tripping over, big floppy bow-tie, natty waistcoat, Mexican vampire movie-style huge fangs – fails to impress potential victims, Draculin communes with his departed father (voiced by José María Alarcón), who magically turns him into a hippie with an Afro and cool threads … whereupon he immediately beds and bites Agatha and Myriam before an excruciating homosexual panic routine as he nearly gets it on with Ivan (who is in drag).  Later, back in his usual soup and fish, he bites the permanently sozzled Ludgarda and gets tipsy.  That’s about the level it sticks to.

El pobrecito Draculín has the feel of the later, less funny Carry Ons – middle-aged blokes doing tired schtick and many excuses to show young women in skimpy lingerie.  For instance, fitness fanatic Agatha wears black bra and panties for an energetic karate fight with a tubby, undersized crook.  There are a few moments of invention – a POV shot from an upside-down bat, a magic mirror that reflects vampires but not normal people – but this isn’t one of the better comedy Draculas.  Scripted by Luis G. de Blain (of the fun gothic La mansión de la niebla/Murder Mansion), Juan Fortuny and Juan Fortuny Jr; directed by Fortuny Senior, the Spanish cinema veteran (first feature in 1942) who made the Paul Naschy vehicle Las ratas no duermen de noche/Crimson (1973).  Rígoli later wrote and directed a science fiction comedy Zocta: Sólo en la Tierra se puede ser extraterrestre (1988).

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