Wednesday, January 1, 2014

BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE (1969)




Directed by Al Adamson & Jean Hewitt
Written by Rex Carlton
Stars: John Carradine, Paula Raymond, Alexander D’Arcy, Robert Dix, Gene O’Shane, Jennifer Bishop, Ray Young

This beat up print of a Crown International flick starts with a young woman (Vicki Volante) tooling down the road to the beat of Gil Bernal singing The Last Train Out. After the song the lovely lady gets out of her car (big mistake!) and is captured by the mute monstrosity known as Mango (Ray Young of Bigfoot and Wildboy fame). He drags her off to a castle in the middle of the desert where Count and Countess Dracula reside. OF course, this is modern times so they refer to themselves as the Townsends and their butler, George (John Carradine) makes sure to extract their blood in a more refined way so they can sip it from a glass.
Unfortunately for the Townsends, their landlord has passed away and left the castle to his grandson, Glen (Gene O’Shane) who, with his fiancée Liz (Jennifer Bishop), are set on moving into the castle and setting up house.
The Townsends have arranged for their violent friend, Johnny (Robert Dix) to be released from a mental facility to join them and help procure a new stock of women for their cellar.
Johnny cuts a violent path through the countryside to make it to the castle and the Townsends plan on using him to change Glen and Liz’s minds about the castle
I think that BLOOD ON DRACULA’S CASTLE get a bad rap. This is an interesting idea of Dracula settling down in the west with a supposed werewolf as a best friend. We are never sure if Johnny is a werewolf. He sure mentions the moon often enough, but we never get a transformation.
John Carradine as George is magnificent. He still has his acting chops and gets into a pretty good fight with Gene O’Shane on the dungeon stairs. When he starts flinging an old school mace around you kind of root for him. In fact, I found myself on the monsters side more often than not.  Well, except for Johnny. He’s kind of a tool throughout the film. But George is a devoted servant. The Townsends have that laid back, European air to them and Mango is the best mute, disfigured servant a couple of vampires could hope for.
There’s a scene where he is feeding the girls in the basement and he is being so kind and gentle until the new girl rebuffs him and he just throws the dish on the floor and stalks off. You’d feel more sorry for him if he hadn’t dragged a girl off earlier into his nest under the stairs for what we can only assume was some rape and fun.
At a running time of 84 minutes BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE knows not to wear out it’s welcome. It gets in, tells it’s twisted little story and gets out again. Blood is minor at best and most of it appears to be tomato juice. No nudity to speak of.
The most clever thing in the film is when Liz says she heard a woman scream and John Carradine informs her that it was their pet Toucan. I checked, yeah that’s a plausible excuse.
Well done, Mr. Carradine.

One down One Hundred and Ninety-Nine to go!

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