HALLOWEEN 2K16: A Review of “Blood of Dracula’s Castle” (1969)

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There will come a point about 20 minutes into this film when you will realize that there’s still an hour to go. Blood of Dracula’s Castle bears all the signs of one of those bad movies that is still going to be some cheap, campy fun. There’s the bad sets, corny acting, John Carradine in one of his three million movies, a monstrous ogre to do the dirty work, and women chained up in a dungeon to be used for their blood to keep the main vampire characters alive. However, where most of these so-bad-it’s-good-and-we-know-it films realize their identity is the running time of the movie and construction of the script. They don’t try to push the limit. What this one did is drag on endlessly at times, weaving in a minor subplot here and there and having scenes that should have been ended three or four minutes sooner.

Alexander D’Arcy plays Charles Townsend and doubles as the Count Dracula character. He’s a Robert Goulet look-alike but with a chicken-shit voice and half-assed attempt at recreating Dracula’s famous Transylvanian accent. The film, which was set in California, never quite explains how he got there along with his snarky chain-smoking wife (Paula Raymond) and comes to rent a castle (yes, rent). In fact, the name Dracula is spoken only once in passing, when one of Townsend’s minions says, “Say, they used to call you Dracula back in the day, didn’t they?” and the Count plays it off. This movie concerns the famous vampire in name alone and was no doubt titled as such to draw in unsuspecting attention.

A husband and wife (Gene Shayne and Jennifer Bishop) end up inheriting the castle when his uncle dies and leaves it to him in his will. Of course, when they arrive they have the misfortune of telling Mr. and Mrs. Dracula to hit the road. The plot then weaves predictably as they become prisoner in their own castle and on the way discover victims chained in the basement. There is no biting in this flick. Instead, the butler (John Carradine) extracts the blood with a needle and fills a wine goblet for them to drink. They also all happen to be fanatical followers of some ancient moon god “Luna” (they got creative with that one) and must sacrifice one victim during every full moon. There’s also the deformed ogre and dungeon-keeper named Mango (after the fruit it would seem) and another psycho friend who serves them by killing, whose name is Johnny.

At no time ever will you think this has a chance of being a good movie. But the script and pacing deny us the fun we should have had with a flick this awful. As if the acting was not bad enough, seeing them at the end going around shrieking to “Luna” before the sacrifices begin will make you roll on the floor because of how forced it is. Hell, even Carradine walks around with a smirk on his face half the time as if he cannot contain himself.

This is another movie I watched on one of those horror box sets. Unlike the others whose film quality was fine, this was actually so poor it was almost unwatchable. Be warned if you decide to watch it. There are vertical green lines that run up and down the screen for the entire running time. At some points they are tolerable, and other times cloud almost the entire picture. Honestly, I don’t know how I dealt with it and I would have to ponder why they even bothered releasing it if they could not do the proper restoration work. I am going to give Blood of Dracula’s Castle 2.5 out of 10 stars. The few moments of fun will entertain you, but the rest just totally drags it down to unbearable.

More posts in my HALLOWEEN 2K16 column can be found here

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