Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Tan Tjeng Bok, Drakula Mantu (1974)

Your Daily Dracula – Tan Tjeng Bok, Drakula Mantu (1974)

aka Benyamin contra Drakula and Dracula-in-Law

An Indonesian vampire comedy with a premise that vaguely prefigures Beetle Juice – though humour is mostly on a level of Dracula being surprised on the toilet or forgetting to put his false fangs in.  The star is Lou Costello-like handyman dolt Benyamin S, who does a lot of panicky faces to camera and wears a notionally funny hat.  A good-looking middle-class couple hire Benyamin and his sidekick to clean out an old house, and the workmen are bothered by the ghosts of vampires who live there – a wild-haired old man, a high-voiced chubby guy with face and body paint, an androgynous catsuited fellow with alarming eyebrows, and a pretty girl in a shroud (Rice Marghareta Gerung).  Director Nya Abbas Akup, who also co-wrote with Rushdy Hoesein, trots out the old business of the prank-playing ghosts being seen by the audience but not the characters … but omits to include subjective shots of floating objects and the like to sell the situation.

Fed up with the slapstick idiots, the ghosts summon Count Dracula (Tan Tjeng Bok) to sort things out.  The vampire arrives in a carriage and four driven by a wisecracking headless horseman, and is greeted with a reception at which a ghost brass band play ‘Camptown Races’.  The elderly Dracula wears the usual Lugosi-type evening outfit, cloak and optional top hat and intends the vampire girl should marry his son, who is a handsome if girlish guy who comes across as a mix of Z-Man from Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Frank Langella’s romance book cover Dracula.  When the vampire lovers kiss, their fangs get locked together awkwardly.

Various plot stuff happens, and Benyamin is repeatedly panic-stricken to be in intimate situations with other men, then a torch-bearing mob show up to solve the haunting problem and have to be talked out of property damage.  That toilet gets hauled out humorously again.  It’s genial, low-brow stuff.


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