Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Des Roberts as Count Adrian, Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? (1971)

Your Daily Dracula – Des Roberts as Count Adrian, Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? (1971)

The story goes that this minor gothic horror was originally a 1969 porno called Does Dracula Really Suck? which was also shot in a gay version called Dracula and the Boys.  No actual evidence of these alternates (prints, posters, stills) seems to have turned up, but I’m happy to be corrected if anyone knows better.  Something about the timeline seems off, given that Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? feels like an imitation of the very successful 1970 release Count Yorga – Vampire, itself originally conceived as a sex film called The Loves of Count Iorga.

There’s also a lot of Rosemary’s Baby mixed in, including a cult chanting ‘Hail Adrian’ – the name of the Antichrist in Rosemary’s Baby but here Count Adrian, the son of Dracula – and the key role of ambitious actor Guy (John Landon), who pimps out the heroine to a vampire who can somehow deliver Hollywood success.

Count Adrian (Des Roberts) sports a brushy goatee, wobbly fangs and an arch Lugosi accent.  He usually wears the regulation cloak and tux, but sometimes goes with a polo neck and sports jacket.  Operating out of Dracula’s Dungeon, a gothic-themed restaurant, he runs a macumba cult with minion-like followers, including a gruesome-looking hunchback (Frank Donato).  In the first reel, a sub-plot about a fight for dominance between two king vampires is resolved with the loser confined to eating lizards in a cage as a kind of geek attraction.

Then we get to the protracted, tedious business of Adrian putting the whammy on Angelica (Claudia Barron) by staring at her through a hypnotic monocle-lorgnette and making huge holes in her neck.  It’s kind of a vampire romance story, since Adrian goes out of his way to lure Angelica into the cult – so more footage can be spent on dances and writhing and snake routines.  Eventually, the creepy Guy hedges his bets by calling in a vampire-killing shrink Dr Harris (Robert Branche) for a final confrontation/twist ending modelled exactly on Count Yorga – Vampire.

Among the supporting characters are a tiger called Alucard and a cackling fortune teller (Yvonne Gaudry).  Writer-director Laurence Merrick also made a Blaxploitation biker movie (Black Angels, 1970 – with Roberts as ‘Chainer’) and an opportunist documentary (Manson, 1973) and was killed by a stalker in 1977.  He goes with a lot of fisheye lenses, low-angle shots – an under-the-glass-table view of the fortune teller is lifted from Theatre of Death – and psychedelic freakout effects.  The makeup effects are particularly poor.

It doesn’t deliver the revisionist vigour of the Yorga or Blacula films, and frankly feels thin and tiresome next to the roughly similar monster monster mashing of Andy Milligan (The Body Beneath, Blood) or Al Adamson (Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Dracula vs Frankenstein).  Roberts also composed the music and warbles a song, ‘Angelica’.


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