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Case Number 02307: Small Claims Court

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Dracula: The Dirty Old Man / Guess What Happened To Count Dracula?

Something Weird Video // 1970 // 145 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // October 17th, 2002

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The Charge

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The Case

Count Alucard awakes from the sleep of ages and realizes he needs blood and a little girlie action to make everlasting life seem complete again. So he corrals a local loser into becoming his jackal-man-slave, and sends him on nightly missions to round up available Misses. Then Dracula: The Dirty Old Man spends countless screen time caressing these…beauties and drinking their blood. He also spends the entire film speaking in a dubbed Jewish accent. Come to think of it, everyone in this unfunny fracas has an overdubbed joke drawl. How very Woody Allen of them.

In response to the question Guess What Happened to Count Dracula?, one can assume the answer is that he went into the retail food service industry. If you ever wondered what it would be like if the Haunted Mansion at Disney World served jalapeño poppers, this movie is for you. Count Adrian owns a mystery castle black mass old style family meetinghouse and one night he spies Angelica and offers her a complimentary order of potato skins. She regretfully declines, but he becomes obsessed with making her head hostess of his theme restaurant operation.

When Bram Stoker first turned a Hungarian myth into a literary dynamo, it's a safe bet he never envisioned a version of his creepy Count as miscalculated as the Yiddish yutz in Dracula: The Dirty Old Man or the tongue-tied and twisted restaurateur of Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? While it is true that the vampire of legend is a murderous rogue that drains the life giving claret from the necks of his helpless victims, turning them into undead drifters between the realms of night and nightmares, does he really deserve the throttling he gets here? It's not like he's selling the unused blood to Nazi sympathizers or keeping Keith Richards and his career alive with it. And yet Drac finds himself defamed at every turn by these ill-advised attempts at updating (or upchucking all over) the Count. Sesame Street's puppet version of the fanged freak was more realistic (and he knew his numbers as well). There are actually four versions, between the films and the archival featurettes, of the bloodsucker as buffoon presented on this Something Weird Video DVD. Dirty makes him into a Hebrew hack, Guess has him substituting for Roy as part of the "Siegfried and" hierarchy, archival short #1 dresses him as Tim Curry's understudy in the soft core version of Rocky Horror, and the final short turns him into mega-tooled doofus Johnny "Wad" Holmes. Yet for every different vampire variation offered, there are shared elements:
(1) All the actors portraying the vacuous Vlad look like leftovers from a B'nai Brith production of Hair,
(2) each speaks in a faux foreign accent of some nature and/or origin which is well beyond their diction and vocal control,
(3) they dress like destitute Armenian maitre' Des (when they are dressed at all), and
(4) they all sleep in crappy cardboard coffins that look like they were constructed by students in an autistic shop class.

As a general filmmaking concept, the re-recording of a soundtrack to a serious film in order to turn it comical has never been 100% successful. At some point, the inspiration runs dry or the gimmick ceases to be clever. This happens within the first ten minutes of Dracula: The Dirty Old Man. As you laugh along, initially, to this Friar's Club version of Nosferatu, you begin to sense the silliness wearing off. There is unease as you notice that no one except the audience is in on the joke; everyone onscreen is playing this fright flick deadly serious. Then you'll get agitated and scream "who is talking?" at the television, since line after line of dialogue is spouted without an actor or semi-human being in the shot! By the time the scrawny excuses for sex bombs show off their blood banks, you'll demand a transfusion…of caffeine. Dracula: The Dirty Old Man is a rock hard mediocrity that can only justify its existence with the mandatory showing of less than fetching nudity.

But at least it bares the bodkin. Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? , on the other hand, is an ABC Movie of the Week from 1970 crossed with all you can eat Applebee's riblets. Our Transylvanian twister running a Bennigan's may seem like a novel conceit, but after the initial set-up, we are left pondering several things. What are his average daily napkin costs? Is there more of a profit margin in the Southwestern Ham Quesadilla or the Penne Pasta Ranch-a-rooti? Just how strict can he be on the whole "employee hand washing" rule when he constantly shape shifts between bat and wolf near the mise-en-place? In reality, this Rosemary's Baby rip-off (Bela Lugosi's hepcat cousin, Adrian, trades fame to Angelica's actor boyfriend for a little neck nibble) is too slow to be frightening, too gentle to be suspenseful. We do gather, however, that dating this undead Wolfgang Puck will mean that the only steak to please your palate will be one of the "tartare" variety.

It may be best to skip this DVD package from Something Weird Video unless you must own and view every unusual take on the entire vampire genre available (or every SWV disc). Nothing here is first rate; not the defect filled full screen transfers that preserve the original aspect ratio along with the original scratches, dust, and projectionist's handling mistakes. Not the extras, since the aforementioned archival shorts are really just excuses to see some unsettling un-retouched glimpses of unwell people naked. You'll immediately understand why Michael Douglas bathed his bulgy butt in pounds of pancake makeup for Basic Instinct, once you witness the featurettes' mass of spotted hinders in action. Even the trailers are a let down. The only truly enjoyable aspect of the disc is the surprising and welcome substitution of glorious, gory horror comic covers from the '50s and '60s for the gallery of exploitation art that is a usual SWV standard. One look through this treasure trove of pre-teen terror titles and you'll begin to understand the reasons for skate parks, Steve-O, and Blue Pepsi. The legend of Dracula and his nightly neck snacking is one of the few gothic stories that seems tailor made for a ribald retelling, what with all the seduction, homo and hetero eroticism and sucking present. But instead of sexy tales of a bloodlusting ladies man, we get four servings of deep fried dog cheese that no amount of ketchup can make palatable. Dracula: The Dirty Old Man / Guess What Happened to Count Dracula? should have been a spicy sip of Snappy Tom. Instead, it's barely a paper cup of spoiled Clamato.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 72

Perp Profile

Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 145 Minutes
Release Year: 1970
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genre:
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• Additional Vampire Featurettes
• Gallery of Ghoulish Comic Cover Art with Horror Audio Rarities








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