Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)

Count Yorga, Vampire wants to bring the vampire into the modern world to see what would happen if some jaded city dwellers encountered a creature they thought only existed in myth. The only problem is that the movie is so small-scale, none of the potentially interesting culture clashes between the old vampire and the happening young kids and their big scary city happen.

I thought I might get to see Yorga cruising down Sunset Boulevard or mixing it up with hippies, flower children and the assorted other commie pinkos that populated L.A. back in 1970. Instead, the old toad just lives in his mansion outside of town and waits for people to drop by to engage him in séances or whatever.

This would all be okay if some really cool stuff went on inside his mansion, like bizarre rituals, satanic rites, wild orgies, or Super Bowl parties, but he just kind of sits around the front room, having his “knowing” conversations with those people that show up to look for their friends who have disappeared.

I kept waiting for something to happen in this film and it wasn’t until Yorga trips and falls on a piece of broken broom handle that some geek was holding that I realized that maybe this movie was going to be even less eventful than its retroactively applied PG-13 rating would indicate.

The movie begins with one of those ominous voice overs about the supernatural and how we don’t believe, but maybe we should, and how there are vampires right in our midsts and maybe your own mama may be one and blah, blah, blah.

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All the while this guy is droning on about how I should be worried about vampires, we get footage of this pine coffin being transported through L.A. on the back of a truck, before it drops it off at Yorga’s rental property.

Once this fairly uninvolving prologue (Wow, I got chills from the big “coffin on the back of a truck” scene!) is finished, we are taken to a roomful of people who are gathered for a séance. Yorga is leading things for a young lady, Donna, who wants to make contact with her dearly departed mother.

Yorga apparently was dating her mom before she died of something like, oh I don’t know, anemia. Later all these people would wonder why Yorga didn’t go to the funeral and why he talked the daughter out of cremating her body and just letting Yorga store her dried up saggy corpse in his basement like it was an old recliner.

Donna’s got some friends with her including her boyfriend Paul, their friends Erica and Michael and another ugly couple who don’t get any screen time after this scene. During the séance something happens to Erica and she gets all fainty and Yorga puts her under his spell.

Everyone leaves and Erica and Michael give the Count a ride home in their swinging VW bus. Once they try to leave Yorga’s place though, they get stuck in some mysterious mud and instead of going up to Yorga’s house to call for help, they light a candle, shuck their clothes and do what comes best to those immoral baby boomers of the late sixties and early seventies!

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Later Yorga shows up, and punctures the neck of Erica, while Michael gets knocked out. The next morning everyone is trying figure out what happened and why Erica is now eating baby kittens.

Michael gets his good buddy, Dr. James Hayes on the case. He just happens to be a blood researcher who has nothing better to do than come running whenever his friends’ get themselves involved in some type of vampire encounter.

As a man of science, Dr. Hayes immediately jumps to the conclusion that Erica must have been bitten by a vampire and that Count Yorga must be the vampire in question. The fact that Yorga is from Bulgaria merely cinches things in Dr. Hayes’ mind.

The Doctor’s friends, who aren’t brilliant blood researchers and haven’t been to medical school, show how stupid they are by disbelieving his theory and doubting the existence of vampires altogether.

Dr. Hayes is also understandably outraged when the local police tell him that he’s a kook who ought to be ashamed of himself when he calls two different times to report vampiric activity in the area.

Erica disappears during the middle of the night and heads off to the Count’s house. Hayes finds out that she has disappeared and that Michael has gone after her, so he and Paul and Paul’s girlfriend all go over to visit the Count.

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Hayes’ grand plan is to literally talk the guy to death. They’re going to keep him up all night talking, so that when the sun comes out, he’ll fry and they can find their friends!

It was with bated breath that I anxiously awaiting the big “talking to death scene” they promised. Why, oh why was that the only promise they delivered on in this movie?

Nothing especially bad sticks out about the movie, but you know darn well it wasn’t any good.

The central character here, Yorga, is completely underdeveloped. You don’t know anything about his past. You don’t know anything about why he’s here. He doesn’t even have much of a personality.

The whole thing played like one of those 1970s TV efforts about the supernatural like The Night Stalker only not as good. A very tepid updating of the Dracula story, Count Yorga, Vampire is marked by its utter lack of anything of interest occurring, yet not being so tedious that you would like to drive a stake through your DVD player.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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