A part of this viewing list: Criterion 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.
A part of this viewing list: Criterion 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.