“Vampires have minds far superior to those of mortals.”
A woman (Donna Anders) grieving the recent loss of her mother (Marsha Jordan) from “pernicious anemia” enlists the help of her mother’s boyfriend, Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), in contacting her mother’s spirit during a seance. When two friends (Judy Lang and Michael Murphy) drop Quarry off at his house, they find themselves ensnared in his den of vampire brides; meanwhile, Anders’ husband (Michael Macready) enlists the help of a doctor-friend (Roger Perry) in investigating the pair’s disappearance.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary posits that this “low-budget horror film” set in “modern-day L.A.” was “quite popular because genre fans were starved for a new vampire”. He writes that “Quarry is effectively evil as Yorga” (I agree), but that he wishes “there were more nuances to his character”, and that he finds the “lengthy, terribly directed, bloody finale in the Count’s castle” “amusing”. I don’t think the ending is particularly bad or amusing, but agree with Peary that this cult item is more a curio of its time than a classic. Its narrative “appeal” seems to be that young women of any era and setting — not just 19th century Transylvania — are at risk of being lured by seductive, deceptive vampires. But poor Lang is stuck between two terrible choices: becoming Quarry’s blood-sucking bride (at which point she’s reduced to gnawing on a kitten) or staying with her obnoxious boyfriend (Murphy); I’m not sure which is a better fate (!). I do wish this film had even a little bit more of a feminist “bite”; Perry’s girlfriend (Julie Conners), shown naked in bed, is portrayed in an especially offensive manner. I wasn’t surprised to hear this was originally planned as a soft-core porn flick.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Robert Quarry as Count Yorga
No, though it’s worth a one-time look for its cult status.