It was a crazy week, y’all. The first week back to school for students, with lots and lots to do. Understandably, I think, I didn’t watch as many movies this week as I probably should have. I was just too tired most nights to focus on a movie. But, I still managed to watch three!
This Week in Vampire Cinema:
- Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)
- Directed by Brian Clemens, starring Horst Janson as Kronos and Wanda Ventham as the vampire Lady Durward.
- Martin (1977)
- Directed by George A. Romero, starring John Amplas as the titular vampire(?).
- Dracula (1979)
- Directed by John Badham, starring Frank Langella as Dracula and Kate Nelligan as Lucy Seward.
Man, the 70s were just bad for film huh? Like, the woman was around so she could bang the uncharismatic lead, be abused by him, and then be bait for the vampires. Also, she was apparently ALWAYS cold because those nips were pert. Cool. coolcoolcoolcool. That said, the vampire was cool. I appreciated the twist ending even though I saw it coming. I also liked the scene where they got to test out various vampire killing theories on the newly turned doctor. That was grim and filmed well. OH! And the hero’s sidekick is a highly educated man with a hunchback, whom the lead avenges after he gets bullied. It was a weird film. I think there’s actually some good bones here and that this story could be ripe for a remake.
Well, another 70s movie where women are raped and murdered with their boobs out. I am REAL sick of that. But, the music in this is wonderful. I’ll say that Romero made Martin likable, or at least intriguing even though he’s introduced to us as a murderer. Don’t love the whole “simple-minded” aspect, basically saying he’s autistic or otherwise neuro-divergent, which is…. not a great look. I did dig the whole black and white memory flashback thing, though. Also, according to the films, people in the 70s had no sense of self-preservation. Answering the door for a stranger? Not once. Also, man. Those telephones are tricky bitches. It is rather graphic with the whole stabbing people and drinking their blood. I think I prefer fanged vampires to serial killer ones. I really liked this quote, “People always go away to forget where they were.” There’s abandonment issues there that don’t really get fleshed out in the film. Okay, what the hell was that ending??? This movie wasn’t the worst of the 70s so far, but then that ending just swooped in and ruined it.
The first thing out of my mouth was, “wow, I like the music” and guess what??? We got music from John Williams y’all! Ok… I was worried about this “Sexy” Dracula at first, but uhhhh I get it. And he could get it. That deep v shirt and the turning scene with the fire and the blood? Oh yeah. I’m here for it. And Vampire Mina was legitimately scary. And Laurence Olivier acted his ass off. I don’t know if this movie just had more of a budget or what, but it is REMARKABLY better than the other 70s movies I’ve seen so far. The ending was all right, and I liked that it suggests that Dracula survives after all, but I feel terrible for Lucy to be left behind to marry such a bore as Jonathan. Another movie where I find Dracula much more compelling and endearing than the others. I did really like Lucy too, though. I appreciated that she wasn’t some waif who fainted all the time, and that Dracula fell for her because of her strength. Also, while this film is described as erotic, it is by no means obscene or over-sexualized. There is no nudity, or really even explicitly sex. It’s all implied, and yet the film is quite sexy. The turning/sex scene can be best described as sensual. I loved it. I think this is my new favorite Dracula movie. There’s so much I could talk about — the cinematography, the color scheme throughout, the fact that we never once see Dracula’s fangs, my obsession with tragic romances… That’s really it. This is the first Dracula iteration that is truly a Romantic film. Both in the literary and genre sense. It’s a love story, but a genuinely spooky horror movie as well. There were some amazing shots (Dracula climbing down the wall to Mina’s room surrounded by his cape and mist, Dracula and Lucy talking over dinner, framed by candelabra, Vampiric Mina emerging pale and terrible from the dark, etc.,) and honestly I just really loved this movie. I want to buy it and watch it whenever I want. I already watched it twice in as many days! I need to stop myself there or I’ll just keep going and going. Suffice it to say I loved Dracula (1979) and highly recommend it. It’s entirely underrated and I can’t believe I had never heard of, let alone seen it before!
And that’s The Week in Vampire Cinema. I won’t lie, I was getting a bit burned out, and then Frank Langella’s Dracula gave me hope again. I can soldier on, with only a handful more movies from the 70s left. Then the 80s promise for a bit more action and fun… I hope.
Until next time,