Blu-ray Review: Blood For Dracula 3-Disc Special Edition

STUDIO: Severin Films | DIRECTOR: Paul Morrissey | CAST: Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Vittorio di Sicca, Maxime McKendry, Milena Vukotic, Stefania Casini
RELEASE DATE: Jan. 25, 2022 | PRICE: 4K UHD/Blu-ray/CD $59.95
BONUSES: numerous video and audio interview, location visit, soundtrack, more
SPECS: NR | 103 min. | Horror | 1.85:1 | DTS-HD Master Audio Mono | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 1/2 | Audio | Video  1/2 | Overall

First, in 1974, there was Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, an X-rated variation on Mary Shelley’s classic story.  Also known as Flesh for Frankenstein and presented in 3-D so limbs and blood could outrageously be flung at the audience, the gory, campy, shot-in-Europe excursion by Warhol protégé Paul Morrissey (Trash, Heat) featured Warhol “Factory” regular Joe Dallesandro (Killer Nun) as a studly gardener and Udo Kier (Dragged Across Concrete) as the demented not-so good doctor out to make the perfect concoction from various human body parts.

Shot in three weeks right after Frankenstein but released a year later, Andy Warhol’s Dracula (aka Blood for Dracula, as it’s titled in this new Severin release) put together some of the key cast members with Morrissey again at the helm. Warhol had little to do with either films other than loaning his name for marketing purposes Like Frankenstein, Dracula garnered a rep for going over the top and it pulled in a strong following, especially for the now-ubiquitous German actor Kier.

While Dracula doesn’t offer the overly gruesome goods as its predecessor, it does introduce a fresh (s)take on the legendary Bram Stoker story, pushing its camp and sexual elements to extremes. Kier is in lunatic overdrive as the titular bloodsucker, who arrives at a European estate in search of “wirgin” blood to stay alive. He focuses on indoctrinating the daughters of the estate’s owner into his vampiric world, but in order to satisfy his craving for fresh hemoglobin, his victims must be pure or Dracula is overcome with violent sickness. And that could be a problem because Marxist-spewing, New York-accented handyman Dallesandro has had his way with some of the comely lasses in the estate.

Blood for Dracula looks impressive in this 4K UHD release, though the truth is that the film never looked great to begin with, even in its original theatrical release. The three-disc set also includes a CD dedicated to its score by Claudio Gizz and a third disc wherein Severin serves a formidable series of extras. Included here are interviews with Keir, Dallesandro, cinematographer Luigi Kuvellier, producer Andrew Braunsberg and others.

The highlight of the extras is a 30 minute 2016 tête-à-tête with now-84-year-old filmmaker Morrissey, a cantankerous sort, who reviews his career with Warhol (of whom he exhibits intense disdain), his penchant for using unproven actors, his unusual experiences working on the horror movies and his dislike of Dudley Moore, who he directed in a disastrous version of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1978.  Some of his recollections don’t match up with those of Braunsberg, featured in a recent Zoom interview where proves to be an engaging presence as he talks about his appreciation of Morrissey’s hands-on approach to directing, collaborations with Roman Polanski and how New York mobsters were connected to the distribution of Frankenstein and Dracula.

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.