A very minor Dracula footnote, which feels like a long-delayed cash-in on the Hammer series even if it came out nearly a decade after that fizzled out. Maybe Korean vampire fans were inspired by Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires to a hope that Hammer’s Dracula would show up in Seoul … and eventually got round to making their own version. Hammer seem to have been a big deal in Korea; there’s a tantalisingly-impossible-to-locate movie called Akui ggot/A Flower of Evil (1961), which some sources suggest is an unauthorised remake of Terence Fisher’s Dracula (1958). Here, Westerner Ken Christopher – billed as ‘Guen Christof’ – sports a Christopher Lee-look black wig, scarlet-lined cape and general air of gloom, though he also has spindly fangs and a slightly schlubby affect as if anyone not Korean would do for the role.
It opens with a Demeter-like ship in Seoul harbour, a crew of dead sailors with neck-wounds and the delivery of a plush black coffin from which Dracula rises stiffly like Nosferatu (or Dracula in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires), though director Lee Hyeong-pyo makes the mistake of shooting this from the side, which makes the effect comical. Kim Seong-hye (Park Yeong-rae), a Korean girl, is the object of the vampire’s interest, and he haunts her – turning up to bite at a disco where he has odd shoulder-twitching moves and even appearing in a bowl of red soup – while her doctor fiancee (Parlk Ji-hun) and a Catholic priest (Kang Yeong-seok) put together a vampire-busting kit. An American girl (Kimberly Hood) plays the Lucy part and Dracula has time to recruit a few more disciples before he’s cornered and done away with. Notably, a Buddhist chanting monk sees off the vampire more efficiently than the crucifix-clutching Catholic Van Helsing figure.
It’s sometimes ridiculous, but seems to be seriously intended – which perhaps makes its odd Korean imposture of a style of filmmaking from the West slightly more amusing. Lee does add some strange directorial touches, with scenes bathed in red, while Christopher at least has the sudden appearances and gape-mouthed snarls down pat. Hmmm, Lee and Christopher … I wonder if that’s deliberate.