Dracula Blows His Cool (1979)

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Dracula Blows His Cool (Graf Dracula Beisst Jetzt In Oberbayern)

West Germany. 1979.

Crew

Director – Carlo Ombra [Carl Schenkel], Screenplay – Grumbach & Rosenthal, Additional Dialogue – Donald Arthur, Photography – Henri Holscher, Music – Gerhard Heinz, Production Design – Nino Borghi. Production Company – Lisa/Barthonia

Cast

Johnny [Gianni] Garko (Count Stanislaus/Stan), Betty Verges (Countess Olivia), Ellen Umlauf (Mrs Nutcracker), Bea Fiedler (Mousie Moran), Ralph Wolter (Boris), Toby Meister (Chubbie), Alexander Grill (Mayor Dumphammer), Giacomo Rizzo (Mario Steranzo), Linda Grondler (Linda), Herta Worell (Mrs van Screw), Herbert Stiny (Freddy), Georgina Steer (Georgie), Rosl Mayr (Grandma Smudge)


Plot

In Upper Bavaria, the nude photographer Stan has leased the ancestral family castle out to be converted into the nightclub The Torture Chamber. His ancestors, Count Stanislaus and his wife Olivia, are vampires originally from Transylvania who live in coffins in the basement. Dissatisfied with the meagre supplies of blood brought by the loyal retainer Boris, the Count ventures upstairs to drink from Stan’s models and the attendees at the nightclub. Meanwhile, Mrs Nutcracker has begun a morality crusade in the town below in a determination to get the nightclub shut down. The close resemblance between Stan and Count Stanislaus causes some confusion to people.


The West German-made Dracula Blows His Cool was one of a spate of new vampire movies that suddenly came out around 1979-80. Others included the lush Frank Langella remake of Dracula (1979), Werner Herzog’s remake of Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), the tv mini-series of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot (1979), the Australian medical vampire film Thirst (1979), the spoofs Love at First Bite (1979) and Mama Dracula (1980), the vampire bat film Nightwing (1979) and the unsold tv pilots Vampire (1979) and Mr and Mrs Dracula (1980). Dracula Blows His Cool was even one among a mini-fad that year that threw Dracula into the era of disco, as also did Love at First Bite and the cheap Nocturna: Dracula’s Granddaughter (1979). That said, there is no actual Count Dracula in the film and the title is misleading, even in the original German, which translates as Count Dracula Now Bites in Upper Bavaria – the nearest you can see is that the castle has been renamed Hotel Dracula.

Dracula Blows His Cool was the only of these to be mounted as a sex film. Not a Dracula/vampire pornographic film – something that was also done around this same era with the likes of Dracula Sucks (1978) and Dracula Exotica (1980). The sex comedy was a tamer variant on the pornographic film – one that took advantage of the freer censorship standards of the 1970s to make a series of vulgar comedies with lots of nudity, mostly bare breasts, and stupid lowbrow humour. These films were probably best typified by the British Confessions comedies. Believe it or not, Dracula Blows His Cool was not the only vampire sex comedy to come out the same year, there also being the infamous Vampire Hookers (1978).

The comedy routines in Dracula Blows His Cool are utterly agonising. There is a painful sequence early on where the moral prig of the town (Ellen Umlauf) confiscates a giant replica of a schlong from the nightclub and is forced to hide it – the solution being to stand it up under her long skirt, which then provides a series of awkward complications as people come to her office. Or stupid situation comedy where Ellen Umlauf is forced by contrived circumstances to hide in the mayor (Alexander Grill)’s bed and gets mixed up as the girlfriend (Bea Fiedler) of the Sicilian (Giacomo Rizzo) also comes and hides there, making the mayor panic as the Sicilian turns up at the door. The various runnings around the castle with the vampire (Gianni Garko) trying to bite people and others to stake him, the identity confusions between vampire Garki and his present-day descendant have the excruciatingly drawn out clonkings and stumblings of some of the worst of the Three Stooges. At least, some people think the Stooges are funny – it is hard to think anybody would say the same about this film. Things are made worse by the typical dubbing of the era where everyone seemed to think it was hilarious to dub a foreign-language film by speaking in flat and stupid voices.

The film is directed by what would appear to be an amateur who has no feel for or experience in comedy set-ups, is only trying to copy other routines they may have seen elsewhere. The sole scenes where the film does actually demonstrate some style is when it comes to the handful of erotic couplings, which suddenly become shot with misty-eyed soft focus, much slow-motion camerawork and a great many closeups.

The odd thing about Dracula Blows His Cool is that the Swiss-born director Carl Schenkel, hiding under the pseudonym of Carlo Ombra, did go onto better things and gained some acclaim not long after with the German psycho-thriller Out of Order (1984) and the US-made The Mighty Quinn (1989). Schenkel made a number of other genre films including the occult tv movie Bay Coven (1987), the psycho-thriller Knight Moves (1992), the mad surgeon film Exquisite Tenderness (1995) and Tarzan and the Lost City (1998).


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