Count Dracula's Great Love Movie Review

Count Dracula's Greta Love Film Review

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Count Dracula's Great Love

Aka: Cemetery Girls
Aka: Cemetery Tramps
Aka: Count Dracula’s Greatest Love
Aka: Dracula’s Great Love
Aka: Dracula’s Virgin Lovers
Aka: Vampire Playgirls
Dir. Javier Aguirre
Spain, 1972, 83 min.

High in the Carpathian mountains sits a sanitarium previously run by Dr. Kargos, who the locals suspected to be Dracula. When all of his patients appeared to die of anemia the villagers stormed the clinic and hung the doctor, but his body disappeared the next day.

After delivering a heavy crate to the formerly abandoned sanitarium two unsavory types decide to augment their fee by inspecting the contents of their burden. Hoping to find valuables belonging to the new owner Dr. Wendell Marlow(Jacinto Molina as Paul Naschy) an Austrian aristocrat, they are disappointed when a skeleton is all they find and they are soon rewarded for their inquisitiveness by a visit by Count Dracula. He bites one of the deliverymen and cancels the other’s services with an axe through the head.

Later, Imre Polvy (Victor Alcazar as Victor Winner) is escorting 4 lovely women on a sight seeing tour through the Borgo pass. When they lose a wheel and the coachman is killed by the horses they are forced to seek shelter at the sanitarium where they are warmly greeted by Dr. Marlow.

His hospitality is understandable because he needs blood from a virgin that loves him to restore him to his full bewitching power.
The bitten deliveryman reappears as a vampire and attacks Imre who then contaminates his secret love Marlene. Dr Marlow, an avid hunter, is out setting traps but he succeeds in trapping only Senta, who in turn attempts to trap him in her bed. When he discovers that she is less than virginal he spurns her and woos Karen, while Marlene sets her sights and fangs on Elke. After consummating his love with Karen Dr Marlow’s true self is revealed as Count Dracula. Senta is welcomed into vampirism by her two friends and they are dispatched by Dracula to collect a village maiden so that he may mix her tortured blood with Karen’s to revive his daughter Rhodna the Countess Dracula who we have previously seen in skeletal form. However, true love proves to be a stronger influence than procreation and “for the first time the love of a women has changed the destiny of Dracula…. and brings a finish to the life of Dracula”.

With a low budget and sparse cast (there are less than two dozen total characters) Javier Aguirre infuses an atmosphere of blue lighted fog misted strangeness into a somewhat romantic setting. Naschy’s stoic almost to the point of wooden performance suggests an air of sympathy for the lonely vampire. Much more muscular than Lee and Lugosi, Naschy portrays Dracula as a would be hero who is tormented by his infliction much like a hairless Waldemar Daninsky.

His female companions each represent a distinct archetype: Marlene (Ingrid Garbo) is the wife, Imre; Karen (Haydee Politiff) the Virgin; Senta (Rosanna Yanni) the whore and Elke (Mirta Miller) is the coward or frightened little girl. Naschy would work alongside three of these four actresses in other films. Apparently, he didn’t get along with Haydee Politiff , which is too bad because she was easily the most attractive of the four.

An excellent soundtrack by Carmelo Bernaola who composed the music for Cut Throats Nine the same year and went on to score two more Naschy vehicles, Hunchback of the Morgue and Horror Rises From the Tomb (both 1973) rounds out this film’s attributes. Although far from a classic; the dubbing is below par and a narrator must explain some of the on screen action, Count Dracula’s Great Love is an entertaining alternative to the Vampire films of Universal and Hammer for those with more continental tastes.

Greg Sonier