Blood for Dracula
|Blood for Dracula|
German theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul Morrissey|
|Screenplay by||Paul Morrissey|
|Story by||Paul Morrissey|
|Music by||Claudio Gizzi|
Compagnia Cinematografica Champion
|Distributed by||Euro International Film|
Blood for Dracula is a 1974 horror film written and directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Maxime McKendry, Stefania Casini, Arno Juerging, and Vittorio de Sica. Upon initial 1974 release in West Germany and the United States Blood for Dracula was released as Andy Warhol's Dracula.
The film involves Count Dracula arriving in Italy to feast upon the blood of virgins, only to find difficulty with this due to the lack of virgins present in Italy.
Filming began shortly after the completion of Flesh for Frankenstein. Italian director Antonio Margheriti is credited in Italian prints of the film despite not directing it. This misattribution led both producer Carlo Ponti and Margheriti to be put on trial for "continued and aggravated fraud against the state" by attempting to gain benefits by law for Italian films.
According to the American Film Institute, the film opened to mixed reviews.
In the first years of the 1920s, a sickly and dying Count Dracula, who, as a vampire, must drink virgin blood to survive, travels from Transylvania to Italy just before the rise of Mussolini into power, following his servant Anton's plan and thinking he will be more likely to find a virgin in a Catholic country. At the same time, all of Dracula's family has vanished because of two reasons, the lack of virgins in their hometown and how the family's reputation prevents any normal family from choosing to bring women to the renowned castle. Shortly after arriving in Italy, Dracula befriends Il Marchese di Fiore (de Sica), an impecunious Italian landowner who, with a lavish estate falling into decline, is willing to marry off one of his four daughters to the wealthy aristocrat.
Of di Fiore's four daughters, Saphiria and Rubinia regularly enjoy the sexual services of Mario, the estate handyman, a proud peasant and staunch Marxist who believes that the socialist revolution will happen soon in his country. Esmeralda and Perla (eldest and youngest, respectively) are virgins; Esmeralda thought too plain and past her prime for marriage and Perla only 14 years old (portrayed by 23-year-old Dionisio). Dracula obtains assurances that all the daughters are virgins and drinks the blood of the two who are considered marriageable. However, their "tainted" blood reveals to him the truth and makes him even weaker. Nevertheless, he is able to turn the two girls into his telepathic slaves.
Soon after the Marchese di Fiore travels out of Italy to pay his great debts, Mario discovers that Dracula is a vampire and what he has done to the di Fiore sisters. When he realizes the danger Dracula poses to Perla, the youngest, he rapes her to protect her. Mario then warns di Fiore's wife, La Marchesa di Fiore, about Dracula's plan. Meanwhile, Dracula has drunk the blood of the eldest di Fiore daughter Esmeralda, turning her into a vampire and regaining strength. La Marchesa confronts, and is stabbed by, Anton, whom she shoots and kills before dying. Mario dismembers Dracula with an axe, killing him and Esmeralda with a stake, and becomes the de facto master and manager of the estate.
- Udo Kier as Count Dracula
- Joe Dallesandro as Mario Balato, the worker
- Arno Juerging as Anton, Dracula's manservant
- Vittorio de Sica as Il Marchese di Fiore
- Maxime McKendry as La Marchesa di Fiore
- Milena Vukotic as Esmeralda
- Dominique Darel as Saphiria
- Stefania Casini as Rubinia
- Silvia Dionisio as Perla
- Roman Polański (uncredited) as man in tavern
In 1973, Paul Morrissey and Joe Dallesandro came to Italy to shoot a film for producers Andrew Braunsberg and Carlo Ponti. The original idea came from director Roman Polanski who had met Morrissey when promoting his film What? with Morrissey stating that Polanksi felt he would be "a natural person to make a 3-D film about Frankenstein. I thought it was the most absurd option I could imagine." Morrissey convinced Ponti to not just make one film during this period, but two which led to the production of both Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula.
One day after the principal shooting for Flesh for Frankenstein was completed, Morrissey had Udo Kier, Dallesandro and Arno Juerging to get shorter hair cuts as filming for Blood for Dracula began immediately. The film featured other directors in the cast, including Vittorio De Sica who wrote his own lines on the set. Roman Polanski also made a cameo in a tavern scene. Despite other sources' claims, Polanski was not shooting What? at the time in Italy, as that film had already been released in Italy by the time the film Blood for Dracula went into production. On its release, the film was promoted with Andy Warhol's name. When asked about how he contributed to the film, Warhol responded that "I go to the parties," following up that "All of us at The Factory contribute ideas."
Italian credits of the film give different credits, including stating Tonino Guerra wrote the screenplay and story, and Franca Silvi edited the film opposed to Jed Johnson. Antonio Margheriti is credited as the director in the Italian prints, which he later claimed was not true, but that he did direct scenes with Silvia Dionisio and Vittorio de Sica. Udo Kier has stated that other cast members and himself only received direction from Morrissey and that he never saw Margheriti on the set. Margheriti credit was due to Carlo Ponti having an Italian credited in order to obtain benefits by law for Italian films. Ponti and Margheriti were both put on trial later "continued and aggravated fraud against the state".
Blood for Dracula was first released as Andy Warhol's Dracula in both West Germany on 1 March 1974 and the United States on 6 November 1974. A 98-minute version was released theatrically by Euro International Film in Italy on 14 August 1975 as Dracula cerca sangue di vergine e...mori di sete!!! (lit. Dracula is searching for virgins' blood, and...he's dying of thirst!!!). In Italy, the film grossed a total of 345,023,314 Italian lire. In the United Kingdom, the film passed with cuts to 103 minutes, avoiding being labeled as a video nasty. It was eventually released in England in 1995 without any cuts. Louis Periano, who distributed the film in the United States, later tried to cash in the success of Mel Brooks' film Young Frankenstein and re-released the film as a 94-minute R-rated Young Dracula in 1976 (as opposed to the original X-rated version).
According to the American Film Institute, the film opened to mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter lauded the production design by Enrico Job and Luigi Kuveiller's photography. The Los Angeles Times review described the film as "aesthetically pleasing" and "pretty funny up until that Grand Guignol finale" but felt that Morrissey had too much talent for "such sickening junk."
- Curti 2017, p. 117.
- Curti 2017, p. 116.
- Alexander, Chris (6 October 2009). "Exclusive Interview with Composer Claudio Gizzi". Fangoria. Archived from the original on 14 October 2009.
- "Andy Warhol's Dracula". American Film Institute. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
- Curti 2017, p. 118.
- Staff writer (25 July 1974). "'Warhol's Dracula' to be Entered in Atlanta Festival". The Los Angeles Times. 93 (Late Final ed.). Part IV, p. 17 – via Newspapers.com.
'Dracula' stars Joe Dallesando, Udo Kier, Arno Juerging, Vittoria de Sica, with a cameo appearance by Roman Polanski
- Curti 2017, p. 81.
- Gardner, Paul (14 July 1974). "Warhol - From Kinky Sex to Creepy Gothic". The New York Times. 123 (42540). p. D-11.
- Lucas, Tim (1995). "Udo Kier: Andy Warhol's Horror Star". Video Watchdog. No. Special Edition #2.
- Thomas, Kevin (6 November 1974). "A Sick Spoof of 'Dracula'". The Los Angeles Times. 93. Part 4, p. 13.
- Staff writer (6 November 1974). "Andy Warhol's 'Dracula'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 291 (129). p. 11-B.
- Curti 2017, p. 119.
- "Blood for Dracula". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 18 May 2018.