Blood For Dracula

Blood for Dracula - Bad blood for Dracula is like too much tequila for the rest of us.

A part of this view­ing listCri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion Spine #28: Paul Morrissey’s Blood For Drac­u­la.

Blood for Drac­u­la is lit­tle dif­fer­ent, in essence, from it’s part­ner, Flesh for Franken­stein. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say I enjoyed this movie bet­ter, main­ly due to the ridicu­lous­ly gra­tu­itous nudi­ty, hot les­bian make-out scenes and a scene that remind­ed me of the Black Knight from Mon­ty Python & the Holy Grail. Shlock has its redeem­ing qual­i­ties, as long as you’re not con­cerned with main­tain­ing a cer­tain lev­el of snob­bery.

Blood for Drac­u­la stars the same folks, in vir­tu­al­ly the same roles. Udo Kier is Drac­u­la instead of Baron Franken­stein, he still has the same creepy assis­tant (more kempt this time around), and Joe Dalle­san­dro remains Joe Dalle­san­dro, fuck­ing any­thing with a pulse. This film was shot back-to-back with Flesh, so it prob­a­bly wasn’t hard for any of these actors to stay in char­ac­ter. (If you can con­sid­er Dalle­san­dro to be capa­ble of act­ing. He doesn’t even try to feign an accent. Prob­a­bly no point.)

There’s quite a bit of heavy-hand­ed pro­le­tar­i­an rev­o­lu­tion­ary talk in this film, and the fact that Dalle­san­dro as sta­ble­boy cum stud ends up own­ing the manor with a harem of three nubile sis­ters who’d love noth­ing more than to spend their days shirt­less out­doors and nights watch­ing each oth­er get porked by Dalle­san­dro, and, well then.

The high aris­to­crat­ic body count is Warhol-gen­er­a­tion wish-ful­fill­ment, only 36 years lat­er, Joe Dallesandro’s char­ac­ter appears just as moral­ly bank­rupt as every­one else. The film remains as a good record of what a cer­tain group of peo­ple thought about at a cer­tain time, but with age has become no longer com­pelling.

Tan­gen­tial­ly, all three films since I’ve start­ed back in on watch­ing the Cri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion have all had some messed up sex­u­al pol­i­tics going on. I’m ready for a change-up.

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Flesh for Frankenstein

Flesh For Frankenstein

A part of this view­ing listCri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion Spine #27: Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Franken­stein.

Also known, for obvi­ous mar­ket­ing rea­sons, as Andy Warhol’s Franken­stein, this film only uses the name “Franken­stein” as a pop cul­ture ref­er­ence to go along with the oth­er clichéd hor­ror tropes; mad sci­en­tists, cas­tle lab­o­ra­to­ries, sundry chunks of corpses, creepy assis­tant, etc. This film isn’t a hor­ror film, it is gore-com­e­dy, like Dead Alive (Brain­dead) with side help­ings of nudi­ty and sex fetishism. It is high-brow delib­er­ate­ly act­ing low-brow; an antithe­sis to Sam Fuller films, which are low-brow serendip­i­tous­ly becom­ing high-brow. The twist­ed Teu­ton­ic (even though he’s Ser­bian, are Ser­bians con­sid­ered Teu­ton­ic? I couldn’t man­age to find an answer…) sex­u­al mono­ma­nia present in the Baron is one large piece of the puz­zle, and Nicholas, the near­ly amoral sta­ble­boy cum stud (this could also be writ­ten as “sta­ble­boy cum-stud” for added fla­vor) is the oth­er. The rest of the char­ac­ters flesh out (I should stop with the puns already) addi­tion­al angles on what clear­ly becomes the point of the film; we’re all vio­lent, sex­u­al sociopaths in one way or anoth­er. The Baron says: “To know death, Otto, you have to fuck life… in the gall blad­der!” right after he has done just that.

Well, okay, but what then, or what else? There isn’t real­ly an answer giv­en, unless it is present in the voyeuris­tic inces­tu­ous off­spring of the Baron and his sister/wife. The film begins and ends with them involved in tor­ture, first at play, but ful­ly real­ized at the last. If any­thing, the chil­dren are even less human than every­one else. They (almost?) nev­er speak, and offer no jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for their acts. No mat­ter how debased or exis­ten­tial­ly dead any of the oth­er char­ac­ters are, they always speak their piece before con­tribut­ing to a body count that would do a Shake­speare­an tragedy proud.

Like the tank of piran­ha that we see occa­sion­al­ly, the chil­dren have been reduced to blood­thirsty beasts, who act as their nature demands, and feel no need for sophistry to jus­ti­fy them­selves. If there’s a moral here, it’s that the absence of empa­thy and altru­ism is com­pound­ed gen­er­a­tional­ly. Your obses­sions can become your chil­drens’ and more like­ly worse.

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