Cinema/TV, Dracula

Your Daily Dracula – Drakulita (1969)

Your Daily Dracula – Drakulita (1969)

A semi-spook comedy musical from the Philippines, this is essentially the Tagalog version of something like Hillbillys in a Haunted House or Ghost in the Invisibl Bikini.  At a guess, it’s pretty poor – though I watched an unsubtitled, very blurry print on youtube so I might have missed some subtleties of humour between the whyayeaye screeching and whyaieoughta fuming.

Top-billed is often-shirtless greasy pompadour singer Lito Legaspi – the movie takes a bash at ‘The Green Green Grass of Home’ and ‘It’s Not Unusual’, plus an instrumental ‘Runaway’ – but the lead character is ‘Eduardo el Maricon’, a comedy ladyboy who hass a hard time from all thanks to a predilection for cross-dressing.  It’s your call whether this is progressive or an offensive stereotype: gayish characters appear in beach party or Carry On musicals, but no one in a western comedy would be as openly genderfluid as Eduardo for decades.  Eduardo has a blonde-wigged pal who’s an even more extreme trans character – skilled in kung fu, with the habit of ballet-kicking barroom bullies in the face.  A joke at the end as the rest of the (rather large) gang of kids are pairing off has Eduardo is almost kissed by the Velma-type lesbian-coded tomboy.

At any given time, Lito’s bunch includes about ten hangers-on, including a chubby effeminate singer who has a Bud Spencer-type invulnerable paunch when the leather-jacketed troublemakers start a fight.  These baddies might be bikers, but the budget doesn’t run to bikes.  When not trying to hash out their sexual confusions or doing cover versions of songs whose tunes they barely know, the crowd visit a local haunted house where a ghost/vampire girl wanders about in a Carol Borland-in-Mark-of-the-Vampire shroud (she gets a song sung to her).  In a weird development, Eduardo gets bitten or thinks he gets bitten by a vampire or pretend vampire and gives up the drag to start wearing black, flashing sharp teeth and agonising about a new set of urges disapproved of by the community.  Meanwhile, the baddies have kidnapped some girls and Lito leads a war party to beat them up – which makes for a big fight finish with surprisingly little to do with that haunted house.

Written by Rico Bello Omagap and director Consuelo P. Osorio.  The stars are Rebecca Rocha, Fina Laforteza, German Moreno, Matimtiman Cruz, Ike Lozada, Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III and Edgar Mortiz.


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