Saturday, October 6, 2012

Blood for Dracula (1974)

Blood for Dracula (also known as Andy Warhol's Dracula) is a 1974 film directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol and Andrew Braunsberg. It stars Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Maxime McKendry, Stefania Casini, and Arno Juerging. Roman Polański and Vittorio de Sica appear in cameo roles. A sickly and dying Count Dracula (Udo Kier), who must drink virgin blood to survive, travels from Transylvania to Italy, thinking he will be more likely to find a virgin in a Catholic country. Dracula befriends Marchese di Fiori (de Sica), an impecunious Italian landowner who, with a lavish estate falling into decline, is willing to marry off one of his four daughters to the wealthy aristocrat.

Of di Fiori's four daughters, two regularly enjoy the sexual services of Mario, the estate handyman (Dallesandro), a Marxist with a hammer and sickle painted on his bedroom wall. The youngest and eldest daughters are virgins, but the latter is thought too plain to be offered for marriage, and is past her prime, and the youngest is only 14 years old (portrayed by 23-year-old Silvia Dionisio). Dracula obtains assurances that all the daughters are virgins and drinks the blood of the two who are considered marriageable. However, both are non-virgins and their tainted blood makes Dracula ill, but still turning the two girls into mental slaves. Mario realizes the danger to the youngest daughter in time and rapes her ostensibly for her own protection. In the meantime Dracula has drunk the blood of the eldest daughter, turning her into a vampire. After the mother (McKendry) is stabbed by Dracula's servant (Juerging) (whom she then shoots) and Mario kills Dracula, the peasant Mario commands the estate.

The film was shot on locations in Italy and was partly improvised as the filming of Flesh for Frankenstein by the same team had been quicker and less costly than expected. While some Italian prints reportedly give second unit director Antonio Margheriti credit as director of the film, Udo Kier has stated that Margheriti had nothing to do with directing the film. Kier stated that he and the other cast members received direction only from Morrissey, and noted that he never saw Margheriti on the set. As a favor for producer Carlo Ponti, Antonio Margheriti agreed to take credits for free as director for the Italian release in order to help the film get funds from the government. Unfortunately, it ended up as a trial for producer and alleged director who both lost. Unlike the controversy over Flesh for Frankenstein the film suffered very minor cuts for its initial UK cinema release and was never listed as a video nasty. It was passed fully uncut for video in 1995 on the First Independent label. Because Roman Polański was shooting What? in Italy on a set nearby, he was asked to do a cameo in this film. One can notice he wears the same mustache in both films.

104 MIN

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