BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Soft-core and vampirism go hand in hand. Sometimes they even skip through parks together and skinny dip in ponds on moonless nights where the babes are bountiful and the skin around the neckline so very supple. The creators of Count Yorga, Vampire know this well. Originally titled The Loves of Count Iorga, this genre classic (on the low-budget side of things) was destined for soft-core silliness … until Robert Quarry was cast in the title role
Suddenly, the film grew a pair…of fangs.
While The Loves of Count Iorga still appears on the print Twilight Time has used for their Limited Edition Series release of Quarry’s film on blu-ray, Count Yorga, Vampire is far from the (s)exploitative material its originators had in mind. Quarry, who suggested the film just be a straight-laced horror flick, is a mad genius as the fearless Count Yorga. His dedication to the role earned him a cult following and a follow-up film that is a bit more twisted than this one.
The movie opens with actor George Macreaady (Gilda) as a narrator explaining – as a coffin is loaded into the back of a red truck and driven through downtown Los Angeles – just what it means to be susceptible to lore and vampirism. It’s a charming piece of narration that perfectly sets us up for the creaky fun of a Bulgarian vampire being turned loose on the sunbaked concrete of Los Angeles
In the time when the Hippie was being phased out, Count Yorga, Vampire dares to follow its coffin-centered ride through L.A. with a séance. Gathered around the table are a gangly group of young adults who snicker at and fondle each other when Yorga isn’t looking. Gone are the groovy vibes that kickstarted the previous decade. Oh, the ravages of time. Only one person is taking it seriously.
Donna (Donna Anders) has to. Her mother has just been killed and she is sick with grief. She needs answers. Yorga, operating as a medium, leads the table reading with Donna and some of her friends. They just want a laugh. Yorga just wants to feast. It’s a win-win and ends with Yorga hitching a ride in a red VW bus with Paul (Michael Murphy) and Erica (Judith Lang) back to his Hollywood Hills mansion.
After dropping Yorga off, they get stuck in some mud. And the good times begin. After a quickie in the back of the van, the real pushing begins. And Yorga is all over it.
You know what follows and soon Erica is eating her cat. Blood. Blood. Blood. The demon’s daughters must have blood. As the killing spreads, a local doctor (Roger Perry in a pretty hysterical role) starts putting the pieces of the Yorga puzzle together and comes to the only conclusion that could ever explain the draining of a baby of all of its blood. Vampires! Little does he know then that he’s dealing with Count Yorga and his many, many mistresses of death and damnation.
Quarry’s characterization of Yorga is to be commended. He’s full on memorable and, as he isn’t shortchanged like Christopher Lee was in his many outings as Dracula, does wonders with the dialogue and the mood he strikes. He’s definitely a breath of fresh air for this film, filling the screen with a presence that is downright unshakable. It’s no wonder then that the film was the surprise hit that it was, earning a reputation and cult-like following that has only grown over the years.
Twilight Time invites viewers to sink their teeth into the gushing memory that is Count Yorga, Vampire with their release of the cult film on blu-ray. While this release is limited to 3000 copies, its eternal style knows no bounds.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for vampire violence/gore and some sensuality
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Bob Kelljan
Writer: Bob Kelljan
Cast: Robert Quarry, Roger Perry, Michael Murphy
Tagline: Tall, Dark, And Deadly..
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yes, so much so that I almost had a massive coronory."
Theatrical Distributor: American International Pictures
Release Date: June 10, 1970
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: October 13, 2015
Synopsis: Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) gives us an elegant titular character, an old-world undead gent (Robert Quarry) making his elegantly bloodthirsty way in modern-day Los Angeles. Posing as a hip medium, he attracts young lovelies to his mansion by holding séances; one bereft boyfriend (played by producer Michael Macready) enlists the help of vampire fighter Dr. Hayes (Roger Perry). Also starring Michael Murphy, and distributed by the deathless exploitation factory, American International Pictures.
Home Video Distributor: Twilight Time Pictures
Available on Blu-ray - October 13, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Count Yorga, Vampire is presented on 1080p by Twilight Time with a 1.84:1 aspect ratio. There are wonderfully fine details apparent throughout the transfer, with clothing threads visible and backgrounds springing forward like never before. The atmosphere – thanks to the clarity of the picture – is improved tenfold by the shadows and the details present. Skin tones are strong and even make-up smears become apparent. Colors are popping with vibrancy, with red being the predominant one. The MPEG-4 AVC encode supports a clean print and a crystal sound that rocks a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono presentation. The score by Bill Marx is solid and so is the dialogue. All in all, another quality release from Twilight Time.
David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan provide an amazingly thorough commentary about the film and Robert Quarry. Lots of valuable nuggets are discussed during the time.
Twilight Time lovingly wraps its cloak of cult warmth and protection around this release with a lot of supplemental material. Up first is more from Del Valle and Sullivan with their Rue Morgue interview. It’s an audio only featurette and is highlighted by Del Valle’s Quarry impersonation. Fangirl's Jessica Dwyer provides another audio only item with a radio tribute to the actor. Also presented is an isolated score track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Galleries and trailers round out the collection.
- My Dinner With Yorga: The Robert Quarry "Rue Morgue" Interview - A Reading by David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan (13 min)
- Fangirl Radio Tribute to Robert Quarry with Tim Sullivan (46 min)
- Isolated Score Track is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
- Still Gallery: The MGM Archives
- Still Gallery: The Tim Sullivan Archives
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer