Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Mario Cid as Baron Bradok, Los Vampiros de Coyoacan (1974)

Your Daily Dracula – Mario Cid as Baron Bradok, Los Vampiros de Coyoacan (1974)

An imitation of the Santo masked wrestler-vs-monster series, this teams up grapplers Mil Mascaras and Superzan (who eat up a full quarter of an hour of footage with a lacklustre opening tag-team bout) with a polo-necked, safari-jacketed vampire expert Dr Wells (played, in a casting turnabout, by Mexico’s former lead vampire star German Robles) to take on the evil goateed Baron Bradok (Mario Cid) who is, of course, boss of a coven of vampires who include two apparently twin cloaked, top-hatted, fang-baring stalk-the-local-tarts types and a posse of bloodsucking midgets who get tossed about by the wrestlers.

After that mind-numbing opening bout, which reveals the embarrassing fact the luchador with a thousand masks also needs a visible corset, a second mercilessly extended wrestling scene brings on some other clod who gets his neck broken by a zombie-like big bald character known as ‘el Espectro’ (Nathanael Leon, billed as ‘Franquestein’).  Only then does the story start.  It’s a convention of these wrestling movies that they always open with a boringly-filmed ring session before the heroes switch to their nighttime occupation of solving mysteries – imagine if every James Bond movie opened with a twenty-minute scene of 007 checking the oil, tuning up the  engine and wiping the windscreen of his Aston-Martin.

Bradok isn’t the most memorable Mexican Dracula knock-off – Robles’ turns as Count Lavud/Duval and Nostradamus are much more distinctive – but occasionally transforms into a furry-faced, bat-eared beast (he seems to have plushie fangs attached to his lips!).  In a WereWolf of London-style transformation, the beast-man Baron walks through shadows, becoming beastier with each dissolve.  The end result looks like a telepod malfunction mash-up of Dracula, the Wolf Man and Mr Hyde.  Bradok is out to turn voluptuous heroine Nora (Sasha Montenegro) into a vampire and presides over sacrificial rituals in front of a giant no-armed idol.

Directed by Arturo Martinez, this has its surreal moments – the scrappy fight with vampire midgets (Robles enthusiastically punches the little bastards) is modestly innovative, and there’s an unusual instance of vampire suttee as Nora throws herself onto a pyre of burning coffins even though her master isn’t actually dead yet.  It doesn’t hold together though, with the wrestling heroes almost superfluous to the horror monster plot despite the amount of footage they take up.  It all ends, as usual, in flames.


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