Shot immediately after ANDY WARHOL'S FRANKENSTEIN with much of the same cast and crew, DRACULA is definitely the better of the two. More like a drug addict than a monster, Dracula (Kier) needs "wirgin" blood to survive, and virgins in his native Romania are in short supply. With his assistant, Juerging, and his sister (in a coffin), Dracula travels to Roman Catholic Italy, where virgins should be more prevalent, and winds up at the crumbling estate of a destitute marquis and his four unmarried daughters. Eager to marry one of his daughters off to the rich Romanian count, the
marquis gives Dracula a warm welcome. Unbeknownst to the vampire, however, the two middle daughters have already lost their virginity to a hunky socialist handyman (Dallesandro).
Not so outright disgusting as Warhol's FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA is stylishly directed, atmospheric, funny, and intense enough to please gorehounds--especially at the climax. Kier makes a wonderful Dracula with his thick accent and goofy mannerisms, but De Sica (director of such neorealist classics as
SHOESHINE and THE BICYCLE THIEF) nearly steals the show as the eccentric marquis. Once again Morrissey's distinctive stamp is on the script, but many European sources credit Margheriti as the director. Look for Roman Polanski in a cameo as a goofy villager. Originally rated X by the MPAA, the
rating was later changed to an R.
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