Count Yorga, Vampire

Synopsis: “Energetic, scary and funny” (Blockbuster Entertainment Guide), this bloodsucking thriller stars Robert Quarry as a modern-day vampire who terrorizes the City of Angels. With plenty of sharp-fanged villains, bosomy victims and an eerie castle just minutes from the closest freeway exit, this bone-chilling horror story is one you can really sink your teeth into!
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Count Yorga, Vampire 7.0

This film follows some of the main lines of the legend of Count Dracula. Except that, in this story, the villain comes from Bulgaria instead of Romania and it takes place in modern times. As well, his motivation for coming to America is different, as is the ending. Okay, it’s a different film – but it’s hard to ignore the parallels between the two; it would also be like ignoring the ones between Dracula and Nosferatu.

Robert Quarry, the actor playing Count Yorga, is efficient and falls in the more traditional Bela Lugosi/Christopher Lee category of vampires. He’s neither the best vampire I’ve seen, nor is he the worst. He’s pretty good, and he almost always commands the screen when he’s on – not quite, but almost. The rest of the cast is good, but certainly not noteworthy; the only time anyone steals the show from Quarry is when one of the sexy ladies appears on screen – only then does his seductive power wane.

Overall, it’s a decent vampire film – for the period. The editing and direction, however, are dodgy at best and they are the principal weaknesses of what could have been a pretty good film; it felt like some footage was chopped out for the sake of expediency, because scenes were intercut a little too wildly. The camera work wasn’t always effective, either, sometimes forsaking the thrills and chills by doing things too plainly, without any build-up of suspense.

All in all, it’s an old school vampire flick of the kind you’ve seen many times before during the ‘60s and ‘70s; it’s nothing unusual or especially noteworthy. However, at the time of its release, it was one of the few decent vampire films out there – so it does have its place in horror film history. If you’re in the mood for a drive-in type flick, a midnight movie, you’d be worse off than to be under Count Yorga’s spell.

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