Count Yorga reminds me of George Hamilton in Love at First Bite. There’s something almost comedic about both of them in their dapper ways. There’s a level of sophistication that is a parody of our great Count Dracula. It’s intentional, but unlike Love at First Bite the marketing around the original Yorga and the sequel are actually a little creepy. It almost feels as though it is to be taken seriously as a Horror pictures. Of course the lackluster violence and moderately comedic performance by Robert Quarry would suggest otherwise. This October we are seeing something pretty special happen. The Return of Count Yorga is hitting from Scream Factory which is the movie we are here to discuss, but the original Count Yorga, Vampire is hitting from Twilight Time as well. A treat for the completist Horror fan.
From the minute I saw what appear to be the brides of Dracula … er… Yorga appear on the screen in the opening I was hooked. There’s something perfectly low budget and monster camp creepy about that sequence. The rest of the movie has off and on moments filled with strong scenes of vampiric excellence, without gore or blood or true sexuality. It almost feels like a great big Halloween display focused on killing a bunch of wealthy, poorly costumed norms. The whole thing actually feels very British despite The Return of Count Yorga being an American AIP production. I suppose that’s as a result of the production value.
Keep an eye out for Vampire Lovers on the TV screen in one of the scenes. Now that is a truly erotic experience. The original Yorga was supposed to be a fairly sexy but was cut due to the MPAA’s inability to rate the damn thing appropriately forcing AIP to decide been being considered porn or a GP rating (PG or so now). The series does suffer from this ultimately. Vamp flicks need sensuality. They need a bit of the red stuff (more of the red stuff than we get in this movie). For my money the Monster Squad TV show from the 70’s is probably just a campy, but more daring.
I’m a fan of 60’s and 70’s vampire fare. I’ll watch it all and appreciate it whether it’s raunchy or tame. This is on the light end of the spectrum but in a sense that helps you focus on the fun nature of Yorga as The Deathmaster rather than as a seductor. You bring the Drac/Yorga character back to the roots of the Stoker myth of the vampire legend with the Count as a villain Hell bent on world domination rather than enhancing his love love. They never did make a third Yorga picture as planned, and so who knows if AIP would have given into the early 70’s sex Horror that started to dominate the genre especially as respects vampire films.
The Return of Count Yorga is a fun, lighthearted vamp movie. It’s got a nice transfer from Scream Factory and the extra package is fairly complete. There are two cover art options.
You can order The Return of Count Yorga from Scream Factory now.
From Sceam Factory:
A horrifying love story… with bite!
When the overlord of the damned rises again to prowl the shadows, who will stand against The Return Of Count Yorga? Robert Quarry is back as one of the most dapper vampires to ever set up shop in California in this thrilling sequel that really raises the stakes. Revived by the well-known supernatural properties of the Santa Ana winds, our undead leading man takes to the streets with an unquenchable thirst. In search of new blood, Yorga moves next door to an orphanage. But when he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman, the Count's thoughts turn to love. Has the ruler of the night finally found the girl with whom he can share eternity?
Featuring Mariette Hartley, Roger Perry and Craig T. Nelson in his screen debut, this biting vampire flick will thrill you horror fans…Yorga-nna love this one.
Audio Commentary With Film Historian Steve Haberman And Actor Rudy De Luca