The Return of Count Yorga
|The Return of Count Yorga|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bob Kelljan|
|Produced by||Michael Macready|
|Written by||Bob Kelljan
Rudy De Luca
Craig T. Nelson
|Music by||Bill Marx|
|Edited by||Laurette Odney
Fabien D. Tordjmann
Peppertree Productions Inc.
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Running time||97 min.|
The Return of Count Yorga, originally titled Yorga Returns, is a 1971 American vampire horror film directed by Bob Kelljan and starring Robert Quarry. It is the sequel to the 1970 film Count Yorga, Vampire.
The story features Robert Quarry returning as the infamous vampire Count Yorga, along with his servant Brudah, both of whom have been revived by the supernatural Santa Ana winds. Actor Roger Perry, who had a lead role in the first film, appears again but as a different character.
Cynthia Nelson (Mariette Hartley), a teacher at the local orphanage, talks with a pastor while watching the sun set before getting ready for a fund raising costume party. Cynthia mentions the "Santa Ana Winds"; while she thinks nothing of the weather, the pastor sees them as an evil omen. One of the orphans, Tommy, wanders into the nearby cemetery where he faintly hears a voice ordering something "To rise; it is time." Vampire-brides rise from their graves and chase Tommy into the clutches of Count Yorga.
Yorga, having been in the area while creating his undead harem and hiding them in the cemetery, has purchased a manor next to the orphanage. His intent is to prey on the children and staff there to satisfy his and his vampire-brides' thirst for blood and presumably create an undead-army from the community's women (it's mentioned that the bridge to the area has gone out. More than likely that was his doing to isolate the area). In his human guise, he visits the costume-party and introduces himself to the people there (though feeds on a guest, Mitzi, before he enters the gym where the party is taking place). He falls in love with Cynthia and, returning to his manor, sends his undead-brides to her house, using mind-control to get Cynthia's family into one room before the brides break in and attack them. Cynthia's father and mother are killed outright after being drained of their blood. While Cynhtia's sister, Ellen, likewise is fed upon and transformed into a new vampire-bride to serve Yorga. Tommy, however is untouched having fallen under Yorga's power, blankly looking on as the carnage unfolds. Cynthia is subdued (though not bitten) and carried by the brides to Yorga's residence where she awakens with no memory of the attack. Yorga tells Cynthia that her family were in a car accident and she was left in his care during their recovery. Yorga tries to charm the young woman into willingly becoming his bride though he is warned by his live-in witch that Cynthia will bring his end if he doesn't kill her or turn her into a vampire soon.
The next morning, Jennifer, the Nelsons' mute maid, finds the massacre scene the next morning and calls the police. By the time the police arrive though, all of the evidence has mysteriously been cleared away, and Tommy claims that nothing has happened. Later that same morning, Bruddah—Yorga's hulking, facially disfigured servant (like Yorga, also returning from an on-screen death in the first film) drags the corpses of Cynthia's mother and father to a quicksand pit on Yorga's property, disposing of the physical-evidence.
Despite the confusion, David Baldwin, Cynthia's fiancé, is suspicious about the Nelsons' disappearance. Meanwhile, memories of the attack on her family slowly start to resurface in Cynthia's mind as she stays within Yorga's manor. Jennifer—still facing doubts about Tommy's involvement with the Nelson's disappearance and visits to Yorga's mansion—loses her patience, slapping Tommy, who later stares at her in a chillingly vengeful manner. Yorga meanwhile goes to claim Mitzi, killing her boyfriend near their boat-house then biting her, draining her blood and making her a new bride.
Hours later, Jason—Ellen's fiancé—is lured to Yorga's mansion by Tommy, on the condition that he (Jason) would be reunited with Ellen. Once at the mansion, Tommy disappears, while Jason is reunited with Ellen. However in her vampirized -state, she is no longer the girl he knew, which she gleefully taunts Jason about, distracting him before her fellow brides attack attack him from behind. Jason breaks free, only to run into Count Yorga, who chases Jason down a hall and strangles him. Bruddah tosses Jason's body into the throne/coffin room for the brides—including Ellen and newly vampiric Mitzi—to feed upon.
That evening, Reverend Thomas calls Jennifer by phone, but it is revealed she lay dead on her bed with a large knife sticking out of her chest. From her window, Tommy can be seen walking away from the house. After Thomas learns (off camera) of Jennifer's death, David is assured he is correct about the Count's true nature and manages to convince Reverend Thomas and investigating police detectives Lt. Madden and Sgt. O'Connor to join him in a rescue-mission at Yorga's mansion. Reverend Thomas is sent to distract Yorga while Baldwin, Madden and O'Connor sneak in elsewhere. However the pastor, falling for Yorga's human-guise, reveals the plan while speaking to Yorga and is killed when he's tricked into walking into the quicksand pit. Yorga returns to the manor, awakens his brides and unleashes them through the household, and calls Cynthia to him.
Baldwin splits from the detectives to expand the room-search, and upon opening one door discovers Jason's corpse, covered in bloody bite marks with an IV draining remaining blood from his neck and into a glass-bottle on the floor beneath him. Later, Baldwin finally finds the half-mind-controlled Cynthia, and attempts to escape, however, he is nearly beaten by Bruddah until Baldwin uses a suit of armor's metal mace to knock Bruddah out with a violent blow to the face.
The detectives, Madden and O'Connor—up to this point having balked at Baldwin's vampire claims—are now believers on the run from Count Yorga's brides (while learning numerous point blank pistol shots prove ineffective against the undead), but encounter a revived, vengeful and bloodied Bruddah, who the detectives promptly shoot to death. The officers, desperately trying to find a means of escape, find that they cannot, as vampiric-power shuts all possible escape-routes. The policemen are soon killed: O'Connor is separated in the brides' throne/coffin room and immediately bitten by the witch (also a vampire) as Madden helplessly listens to O'Connor's death-screams. Moments later, Madden hears a whispering voice call his name from a corridor; thinking it is Baldwin, he runs to the source, but then yells out as he is stabbed in the chest, collapsing to his death. Tommy's sneakered feet walk by the body, indicating he was responsible for murdering Madden (in the same way he killed Jennifer).
Baldwin and Cynthia are the only ones left but as they try to escape, Yorga's brides block their every exit. Soon the two are cornered by Yorga and his undead-harem. Yorga grabs Cynthia and takes her away to simply transform her into a new bride while leaving his army of brides to finish off Baldwin. Baldwin somehow escapes the brides and gives pursuit (along the way, grabbing an iron battle-axe from a wall), chasing the two up to the balcony. The two men fight with Yorga, gaining the advantage until Cynthia regains her memories of Yorga killing her family. She strikes Yorga in the chest with Baldwin's battle-axe, and Baldwin then throws Yorga off the balcony. Yorga lays crumpled on the ground, apparently dead.
Cynthia hugs Baldwin, believing the ordeal over. However, she notices something wrong and pulls away. Gasping in horror as she sees that Baldwin now has pale skin and bite marks on his face; Baldwin has become a vampire (presumably bitten by the brides). Cynthia tries to run from him, but Baldwin pulls her back. Cynthia's can only gasp out a "No!" as Baldwin bites her, dooming her to a life as a vampire which he ironically was trying to prevent not moments ago.
The last shot of the movie is Tommy playing with his ball, in front of the manor that the vampires occupy (likely still in their control and acting as a new caretaker), as a haunting rendition of a song the children choir was singing at the beginning plays. Though Yorga is dead, his evil lives on as those who know of him are either dead or turned into vampires and will carry out his curse. No one is left to stop his undead-army from spreading vampirism to the orphanage and, very soon, the rest of the isolated town.
In one scene, Yorga is seen watching a Spanish-language version of The Vampire Lovers on his television.
A third Yorga film, which would have featured a broken Count living in Los Angeles's sewers and creating an army of undead street people, never materialised.
Though Count Yorga is referred to as "the Deathmaster" in publicity for this film, a later film called The Deathmaster, also starring Robert Quarry as a vampire, has no relation to the Count Yorga series.
The film was released theatrically in the US by American International Pictures in 1971.
The film was released on VHS home video (full screen format) in 1993 by Orion Home Video, which once held home video distribution rights to many titles in the American International Pictures catalogue.
The film was given a second VHS release by MGM Home Entertainment in September 2000. It was later released on DVD by MGM in 2005 as part of their Midnite Movies series. The disc was a double feature release, pairing the film alongside Count Yorga, Vampire.
When CBS ran the movie in the 1970s, on their "Friday Night Late Movie", the on-screen title was "Yorga Returns".
- "The Return of Count Yorga". mgm.com. Retrieved 2011-03-30.