Count Dracula’s Great Love (1973)
With a story and screenplay credited to Jacinto Molina, Paul Naschy once again adds another of the classic monsters to his bag of tricks. Horror film buffs will of course know that Molina and Naschy are one and the same.
I’ll admit to not being overjoyed at the plot of this vampire feature but will say that I loved the foggy atmosphere mixed with plenty of slow motion movement from vampires and the like as they slither about the countryside and hallways of the castle that Naschy inhabits. In classic tradition, we begin with a horse drawn carriage, gypsies and coffins. Fortunately for this tale of the undead, a coach carrying four beautiful women is passing through the lands and the one male passenger, Victor Alcazar relates to the ladies the stories of Dracula and his supposed death at the hands of Professor van Helsing. Just to get us all in the mood for the scares and blood letting that is sure to follow.
Eerie or not, the coach loses a wheel and a spooked horse leaves the coachman dead. Seeking refuge, the group of travelers seek shelter at an asylum run by an Austrian Doctor. As the door to the estate opens, we find the Doctor is none other than Mr. Naschy. It’s a stormy night, candles are burning bright and low cut negligees are in vogue as the woman parade about. Time for a topless rendezvous between Alcazar and his lady love played by Ingrid Garbo. A couple of our other ladies snoop about the castle while the frightened one of the four finds a friend in the gentle host.
There’s a zombie like ghoul running amok in the castle and when he puts the bite on one of our visitors, the vampire plague is sure to spread quickly with Naschy’s true identity coming to the forefront. Apparently true love has awakened the inner vampire that resides in our star player. There is plenty of vampire imagery, blood and skeletal remains to liven up this tale of the undead, Euro style. Aside from the weak focal point of the story, let’s not kid our selves, Naschy makes a far better werewolf than he does the king of the vampires. Close up imagery of his eyes lusting for blood will do nothing to make you forget the hunger for blood that Christopher Lee could put forth on camera. Naschy just isn’t imposing as the Count. He’s not physically built for the role as Lugosi, Lee and many others were tall and possessed an air of authority and arrogance.
Looking at the plus side, there are plenty of hissing vampire babes running amok as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the villagers that conveniently appear on screen when needed. Dungeons, chains, whips. blood sacrifice and daggers figure prominently as this Javier Aguirre feature comes to a close.
Films like these from the seventies era would be released in various titles and different years around the globe in different cuts as well. Clothed and unclothed in many cases. Apparently this was released in my home country of Canada in 1980 as Dracula’s Virgin Lovers. Maybe one of these four females stopping by the castle may have been a virgin but I have my suspicions about three of the ladies who were carefree with the amount of skin they would expose in the castle’s swimming pool down by the garden.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark had put this one out on her line of DVD releases a while back and the film has just been put out on blu ray by Vinegar Syndrome with plenty of bonus materials including commentary by the late Naschy and the director.