Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Walter Kliche as Gustavo, Sangre de Virgenes (Blood of the Virgins) (1967)

Your Daily Dracula – Walter Kliche as Gustavo, Sangre de Virgenes (Blood of the Virgins) (1967)

This reduces the horror movie formula almost to its essentials: it opens with a gothic anecdote about buxom blonde Ofelia (Susana Beltran) forced into a marriage – on her wedding night, her vampire lover Gustavo (Walter Kliche) sticks a dagger through the bridegroom’s neck and bites the bride.  After a striking animated credit sequence, it launches into the Down Argentine Way equivalent of a sexploitation romp as a bunch of pretty young people cut loose while on a modeling assignment in an Andean ski resort (dancing topless on bars, etc).  The youngsters’ car breaks down and they wind up in an old dark house where undead Ofelia lingers and Gustavo starts licking his fangs at the sight of almost-as-bosomy brunette Laura (Gloria Prat).

Though romantic/horrific elements and a tacked-in police investigation bring it upto feature length (73 minutes), not a lot happens beyond the striking of horror movie poses and girlie footage of the leads.  This isn’t as demented as writer-director Emilio Vieyra’s earlier Placer Sangriento (aka Feast of Flesh or The Deadly Organ) or La venganza del Sexo (The Curious Dr Humpp) – as if the filmmaker were trying hard to abide by genre rules he didn’t quite understand or make a film which could be passed off as an ordinary horror-sex film.

It has situations rather than plot elements – lifting from Playgirls and the Vampire, Dracula – Prince of Darkness and many other let’s-stay-the-night-at-the-abandoned-castle pictures but is liberal with flesh and blood until a finish which stutters to a dead stop rather than wind anything up.  Beltran and Prat are pouting presences with Russ Meyer silhouettes, but all the male characters – including the regulation cloaked Latin vampire and a hepcat with a beard (producer Orestes Trucco) – are cardboard cutouts.  It’s gorgeous-looking, though – with rich ruby reds (for the tinted shots of vampire gulls and spurting blood), sumptuous fleshtones (for the voluptuous cheesecake) and velvety black (for the shadows of the old dark house).  Quite a lot of it consists of footage possibly shot silent, with funky/weird Victor Buchino score over montage-type sequences (Vieyra favours Russ Meyer’s editing style as well as his starlet casting type) and minimal talk or sound effects.  It’s strangely well-lit, offering a semi-surreal version of day-for-night.  The overkill climax has the vampires staked and then carried in coffins to the local crematorium to be reduced to ashes, but the Klove-style sinister lurking servant opens the oven and bat/bird shapes flutter out into the red sky in an early evil-lives-on final twist.

First person to comment on the vampire actor’s name being homonymous with cliché wins the Obvious Joke prize.


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