FEBRUARY 5, 2010
I’m sick of straight up Dracula adaptations, but I’m all for more movies like Blood Of Dracula’s Castle, in which Dracula is a character in an otherwise completely different story (the story of Manos: The Hands Of Fate in this case). No Van Helsing, no eternal love... he’s just a guy who hangs out in his castle with his wife, has John Carradine bring him (real) Blood-y Mary’s, and entertains the local serial killer, a guy named Johnny who may or may not be a werewolf.
Apparently, in some TV versions of the film, Johnny’s werewolf-ism is made a little more clear, though whether these scenes were the intention of director Al Adamson or if they were inserted to pad the running time (or make more sense out of the plot - a novel approach!) by producers I do not know, nor do I really care. The completely vague nature of his character is what made this movie such an oddball delight.
But Johnny isn’t the only laughably puzzling part of this movie, not by any means. We have a man who decides to wait until he is at the top of a rotating sky-tower ride at the carnival before reading the certified letter letting him know that his uncle died and left him his castle (he then casually tosses the letter into the wind). The same man later claims that the sounds of a woman screaming were likely “an electric toothbrush that short circuited” (what the?). Johnny begins a scene with the curious punchline of this “joke” - “and then there was a character, he used to hold out his hand. And he’d ask me what was in it. And I’d say “an elephant.” And then he’d say - “what color?”. And despite several lines placing the castle in the middle of Arizona, there’s a scene later in the film where the heroes and Johnny go to the ocean. Oh, and again, the movie as a whole is sort of like Manos (deformed henchman, a cult with fuzzy objectives, etc), so that’s always good for a laugh.
There are also TWO characters with black and white striped shirts, which I guess must have been the style back then. It doesn’t help that Johnny is one of them, and he has a very similar physical appearance to the hero (whose wife is the one wearing the other shirt), so that coupled with the late hour of watching the film, I started getting confused as to who I was looking at sometimes. The lousy transfer didn’t help - while it was given an anamorphic transfer (thank you!), it was not remastered in any meaningful way, and also had some of the worst scratching I’ve ever seen on a DVD:
But again, the thing I dug about the movie was that it was just so loose with both the Dracula mythology and its own over-stuffed storyline. Johnny has no concern about the fact that his friends are vampires, and there’s a wonderfully nonchalant conversation about how they hated having to bite into necks and that the new way is so much better. And the hero’s wife practically has a monologue about how she can’t wait to swim in the moat around the castle (again - what the?). I don’t think the vampires ever actually kill anyone in the movie (though Johnny makes up for it by killing a bunch of people at random - including a hitchhiker in a surprisingly gory scene - before he actually gets to the castle and thus joins the story proper), as their butler (Carradine) and the aforementioned Torgo-lite guy do the bulk of the dirty work, which again, ties into the film’s surprising laid back nature. And it ends with a guy falling to his death while on fire, so automatic win.
What say you?