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|
Dracula's Dog (released in the U.K. as Zoltan...Hound of Dracula) is a 1978 American horror film starring Michael Pataki and José Ferrer, released by Crown International Pictures. It revolves around a dog with the spirit of the vampire Dracula within it. The film was based on the novel Hounds of Dracula (1977) by Ken Johnson, which was retitled Dracula's Dog upon the film's release. In the U.K., the book was titled Dracula's Dog only.
A Romanian road crew accidentally blasts open a subterranean crypt, and the captain of the road crew, 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, Zoltan opens another coffin shaken loose from the crypt, this one holding the body of an innkeeper, Veidt Smit (Reggie Nalder), who once owned the crypt. Zoltan removes the stake from the innkeeper's chest, reanimating 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. 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 its owner, turning the innkeeper into a creature called a "fractional lamia" (a 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, a mild-mannered psychiatrist, played by Michael Pataki, who decides to take his wife and two children (who are, technically, also descendants of the Draculas), as well as their two German shepherds, Samson and Annie, and their two puppies, on a vacation in his Winnebago, hoping to spend some quality time with his family out in the national forest.
Still loyal to the Draculas, the vampire dog and his master travel to the United States, shipping themselves via boat to 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 vampiric dogs, the minions of Zoltan. Zoltan is killed in the final scene, but a vampire 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
- Al Ferrara as Al, the deputy
- Roger Pancake as Sheriff
- Dimitri Logothetis as Corporal
Thorn EMI/HBO and United Home Video both 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.
- 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.