“Dracula Sucks” (1978)
If a similar exercise in post-“Blazing Saddles” era genre deconstruction by way of by way of a borscht belt savaging of genre tropes were to be inferred by as suggestively flippant a title as “Dracula Sucks”, imagine the surprise of unwary patrons who instead of being treated to a comic edition of the usual blood and bosoms rendering of vampirism in the best Hammer tradition, encounter this sexually explicit version of Bram Stoker’s popular nocturnal boudoir crasher.
However, if one were to infer that the introduction of a more liberal level of carnality indicates an equal elevation of eroticism, “Dracula Sucks” is bound to disappoint for the same reason it offers tepid contribution to the already oversaturated bloodline of Transylvanian-based filmic progeny. The film borrows so liberally from the preceding self-replicating recreations of cinematic rather than the literary incarnation of the story that, at times, it seems as if its ultimate purpose is to act as a “Greatest Hits” tourist primer to every identifiable trope readily on hand for use in stale duplication by the unimaginative filmmaker. Similarly, rather than interpolating the explicit sexuality as a means to derive heretofore unexplored erotic shadings in the assaults on Victorian psychosexual propriety, the filmmakers are satisfied with a generic offering of sex scenes designed neither to illuminate character nor to advance the plot but simply act as regularly scheduled interruptions meant to distract from the alarmingly meager narrative.
Count Dracula (Jamie Gillis) and his two “brides” take up residence at the dilapidated Carfax Abbey, adjacent to Dr. Seward’s sanitarium. After a cursory happy hour introduction to all of the main characters, the Transylvanian begins a reign of terror that encompasses the staff, many of their loved ones and even some of the patients. The most prominent of the latter is Renfield (Richard Bulik) who, coincidentally, has succumbed to episodes of delusion following the disappearance of his father on a business rip to the Carpathian Mountains. Renfield is ceremonially enslaved by Dracula for no discernible reason for despite the madman’ assertions that he is essential to the success of the vampire’s activities, he actually contributes little to the proceedings save to provide a running source of irritation with his ceaseless impersonation of Dwight Frye’s sinister guttural laugh.
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