Old Dracula (1974)

aka Vampira
Article 3021 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-15-2009
Posting Date: 11-21-2009
Directed by Clive Donner
Featuring David Niven, Teresa Graves, Peter Bayliss
Country: UK

Dracula has begun allowing tours of his castle, which gives him a fresh supply of blood as well as the opportunity to find a rare blood type that will revive his wife, Vampira. He does find the right blood type, but when his wife is revived, she also turns black. He then goes to England to find the donor of the original blood in the hopes that he can change her back.

I was aware that the movie had undergone a title change from VAMPIRA to cash in on the success of YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, so I didn’t go in expecting that this comedy was going to attempt to emulate that one in any way; I planned to review it on its own terms. Still it’s a fairly weak comedy. The cast is game enough; all three leads put their best feet forward to make a go of it, and each one adds a little flavor to the mix. What fails them is the script; despite a couple of cute ideas here and there, it’s painfully short on laughs, and the story gets less and less interesting as it goes on. It all builds up to a twist that is a) obvious once you see the setup, and b) awful when you see the final make-up job. I’d like to see some of these touches in a better movie; I like the idea that a vampire has varying amounts of control over his victims depending on how long he bites them, and that if he keeps the time short, the victim doesn’t become a vampire. I can’t really say I was disappointed by the movie, as it was actually a little better than I expected, which wasn’t much. Teresa Graves would go on to the role of Christie Love, and then left acting shortly afterward.


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