The Return of Count Yorga (1971)

THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971)
Article 2751 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-17-2008
Posting Date: 2-23-2009
Directed by Bob Kelljan
Featuring Robert Quarry, Mariette Hartley, Roger Perry
Country: USA

Count Yorga the vampire falls in love with a woman who works in an orphanage. He kidnaps her and embarks on a reign of terror.

I always used to wonder why there was even a Count Yorga to begin with; it seems to me that if you had a vampire who was a Count, you had a familiar and easy-to-market character named Dracula in the public domain that was ripe and ready for use. This movie did answer that question for me at least a little. The character of Dracula carries with it a certain amount of baggage that you can dispense with if you’re playing a different character; for one thing, you don’t have to work on the accent. This allows Robert Quarry to come up with his own character, and he does a fine job with it; he adds his own wit to the mix, feels at ease in the role, and doesn’t come across as a pale imitation of Dracula. I like the beginning of the movie best; it makes subtle but effective use of sound in the opening scenes, and the costume party in which Count Yorga appears (in which the winner of the best costume is another person dressed up as a vampire) is highly amusing. There’s also a nice low-key feel to the movie, which is underlined by the absence of background music in most of the scenes. Unfortunately, the script is undernourished, for each scene that works there’s one that falls flat, and the low-key vibes give way to aimlessness and listlessness on occasion. After a while, the attempts at humor become embarrassing, especially towards the end of the movie in which far too much time is spent with a couple of comic-relief cops. In other words, it’s a mixed bag, but memorable moments abound, including one in which we get to see Count Yorga watching a vampire movie in Spanish. This movie also features George Macready’s final screen performance; his son, Micheal Macready, was the producer.

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