Love At First Bite

Synopsis: Dracula has never been so funny and dashing – to say nothing of being an awesome disco dancer – as in this “delightful movie with a bang-up cast” (The New York Times) led by the epitome of suave, George Hamilton, and featuring first-rate performances from Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin, Dick Shawn, Arte Johnson, Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford!

Evicted from Transylvania, Dracula (Hamilton) goes to New York to make Cindy (Saint James), a model with an old soul, his eternal bride. To his delight, she quickly falls for his necking style. But when her would-be boyfriend (Benjamin), a descendant of the vampire-killing Van Helsings, meets his romantic rival, he’s determined to put a stake in the count’s plans!

And, speaking of biting…

Love At First Bite 5.5

In what appears to be a bit of vanity project (it feels like it, for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on), George Hamilton spoofs the Dracula legend by bringing the character to then-modern day New York City.

In it, the good ol’ Count becomes infatuated with a NY model and, after being forced out of his home by the Romanian Government, decides that he should go seek true love. But he ends up facing one tripwire after the next, including a bumbling Renfield and a jealous psychiatrist played by Richard Benjamin. It’s all pretty corny (and not just by ‘70s standards!), but it’s still somewhat enjoyable; it’s not a bad film, but it’s a pretty unfunny comedy.

The real saving grace is Richard Benjamin. While his performance doesn’t warrant trophies, it does recall a younger Walter Matthau at times. And ironically enough, it so happens that he played Walter Matthau’s son in the film ‘The Sunshine Boys’. It was absolutely no surprise to me, as you can really see glimmers of Matthau in his performance. Is that an after-effect of having worked with him? Or was he picked for ‘The Sunshine Boys’ for precisely this attribute? I can’t say…

But I will say this: ‘Love at First Bite’ is not at all a memorable experience. But it’s also not offensive enough to warrant any complaints. It’s just plainly forgettable.

Nota bene: it may be forgettable to me, but it was a mild hit at the time and it did serve to rejuvenate Hamilton’s career. And a sequel has long been rumoured even – even so many years later! So maybe it’s just me…

One response to “Love At First Bite

  1. Pingback: The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington | thecriticaleye·

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