In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about a campy cult classic that is also one of the funniest vampire movies ever made – Blood for Dracula (1974)!
Produced by Andy Warhol and directed by Paul Morrissey, Blood for Dracula (aka Andy Warhol’s Dracula) stars Joe Dallesandro, Arno Juerging, Milena Vukotic, Dominique Darel, Stefania Casini, Silvia Dionisio, Maxime McKendry, Vittorio De Sica, and the incomparable Udo Kier as the Romanian Count Dracula. (Never mind his thick German accent!)
Claudio Gizzi composed the film’s gorgeous score, and it’s easily one of the loveliest film scores ever written (for any genre, let alone a horror movie), even considering the beautiful music in Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Full Circle, aka The Haunting of Julia (1977).
In this telling of the Dracula myth, the infamous Romanian Count (Kier) is dying because he needs the blood of virgins to stay alive… but none of the peasantry around his castle qualify! So he packs his bags (and coffin) and heads to Italy where he hears the girls are Catholic and chaste and ripe for the sucking. Unfortunately, he doesn’t account for the handsome, rebellious farm hand (played deliciously by male sex symbol Joe Dallesandro) who has already slept his way through the creme of the country girl crop. It seems Italian virgins are just as scarce as Romanian ones.
Blood for Dracula is a wickedly funny horror movie that obliterates the line between art and bad taste. It’s certainly grotesque and outrageous, but it’s also subversively political as well. There’s definitely a political allegory to be found here if you care to look for it. Dallesandro’s character is outwardly communist and speaks openly about class struggle and revolt. The film’s aristocratic daughters work the field like common peasants. And there are obvious comparisons between the sickly vampire’s need for blood, and the crippled aristocracy that feeds off the lower classes.
Ultimately, Blood for Dracula is smart, funny, sexy, and wildly entertaining! If you’re looking for something this Halloween that plays like a midnight movie, with just enough satire and political subtext to also get your brain engaged, I recommend Blood for Dracula. It’s an intelligent cult classic that I rate it 9/10!
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October! You can watch past episodes HERE.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.