a.k.a. Zoltan...Hound of Dracula
|Directed by||Albert Band|
|Produced by||Philip Collins|
|Written by||Frank Ray Perilli|
|Based on||Hounds of Dracula|
by Ken Johnson
|Music by||Andrew Belling|
|Edited by||Harry Keramidas|
|Distributed by||Crown International Pictures (U.S.)|
EMI Films (U.K.)
Dracula's Dog (U.K. title: Zoltan...Hound of Dracula) is a 1977 American horror film starring Michael Pataki and José Ferrer. It revolves around a dog who is turned into a vampire by a member of the Dracula family, who is also a vampire.
The film's screenplay was the basis for the paperback novel Hounds of Dracula (1977) by Ken Johnson, which was re-titled Dracula's Dog upon the film's release in the U.S.. In the U.K., the novel was titled Dracula's Dog only.
The Romanian army accidentally blasts open a subterranean crypt, and the army captain, fearing looters and criminals, stations a guard near the site. Late in the night, an earthquake shakes loose one of the coffins, which slides down and lands at the feet of the confused guard. Curious as to what has fallen before him, the guard opens the coffin and discovers the body of a dog, impaled by a stake. He removes the stake, which revives the vampiric Doberman Pinscher Zoltan.
After slaying the guard and drinking his blood, Zoltan opens another coffin shaken loose from the crypt, this one holding the body of his master, an innkeeper named Veidt Smit (Reggie Nalder), who once owned the crypt. Zoltan removes the stake from the innkeeper's chest, re-animating the innkeeper. The movie cuts to a flashback of a village in Romania in 1670, over 300 years ago.
The dog of an innkeeper saves a woman from being bitten by Count Igor Dracula (Michael Pataki). Furious over losing his meal to a dog, Dracula, in bat form, bites the woman's savior, turning the dog into a vampire. Then Dracula, with the dog by his side, turns on his owner, turning the innkeeper into a creature called a "fractional lamia" (an undead creature that is only part vampire, able to function in the daytime and having no need to drink blood) and thus turns him into a slave of the Dracula family.
Back in the present (1977), it appears that the Dracula family has only one surviving descendant, Michael Drake (also Michael Pataki), a psychiatrist, who decides to take his wife, Marla (Jan Shutan) and their two children, Linda (Libby Chase) and Steve (John Levin) (who, technically, are also descendants of the Draculas), as well as their two German Shepherd Dogs, Samson and Annie, and their two puppies, on a vacation in the family's Winnebago camper, hoping to spend some quality time with his family and their pets out in a national forest.
Still loyal to the Draculas, the vampire dog and his master travel to the United States, shipping themselves via boat to Los Angeles, California in order to make Michael their new master. Eventually, Zoltan and Smit find themselves in the same forest as Michael, his family and their dogs.
Other campers, vacationing with their dogs, discover that their pets are being killed by a strange beast. The deceased animals soon reanimate into vampire dogs, the minions of Zoltan. Zoltan is killed in the final scene, but a vampire German Shepherd puppy escapes destruction.
- Michael Pataki as Michael Drake/Count Igor Dracula
- José Ferrer as Inspector Vaclav Branco
- Reggie Nalder as Veidt Smit
- Jan Shutan as Marla Drake
- Libby Chase as Linda Drake
- John Levin as Steve Drake
- Cleo Harington as Pat Parks
- Arlene Martel as Major Hessel
- Tom Gerrard as Maslow, the guard
- Dimitri Logothetis as an army corporal
- Al Ferrara as Al, the deputy
- Roger Pancake as the sheriff
Thorn EMI/HBO and United Home Video released it on VHS as Zoltan...Hound of Dracula and Dracula's Dog, respectively. Anchor Bay Entertainment released it on DVD as Zoltan...Hound of Dracula on August 20, 2002.
Rotten Tomatoes reports 17% of six surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 3.6/10. Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times called it the nadir of vampire films. TV Guide rated it 1/5 stars and called the film's premise "ludicrous". Adam Tyner of DVD Talk rated it 2/5 stars and wrote that the film is too inept to be scary, though it is fun to mock. Writing in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute and John Grant call it "surprising dull" but complimented the dogs. Welch Everman wrote in Cult Horror Movies that the film "could have been a pretty effective and frightening movie" but failed to live up to its potential.
- "Dracula's Dog (1977)". Baseline. Retrieved 2016-03-19 – via The New York Times.
- ZOLTAN... HOUND OF DRACULA Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 44, Iss. 516, (Jan. 1, 1977): 133.
- Melton, J. Gordon (2011). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781578592814.
- Everman, Welch (1993). Cult Horror Films. Citadel Press. pp. 93–95. ISBN 9780806514253.
- Tyner, Adam (2002-08-27). "Zoltan: Hound of Dracula". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "Dracula's Dog (1981)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
- Wilmington, Michael (1992-11-15). "A Bloody Batch: Draculas We Have Known". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "Dracula's Dog". TV Guide. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- Clute, John; Grant, John (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Macmillan Publishers. p. 293. ISBN 9780312198695.