Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Lady Dracula – review

Director: Franz Josef Gottlieb

Release date: 1977

Contains spoilers

Lady Dracula is an obscure German horror comedy release and the problem lies in the label horror comedy. Not funny, at all really, it falls flat on that aspect and it doesn’t contain anything resembling horror. All told it fails to live up to either category.

With that in mind let us explore the film.

Stephen Boyd as Dracula
It is 1876 and the film begins in a crypt and a lid is blown off a coffin revealing Count Dracula (Stephen Boyd). His rise and progress through the castle is accompanied by overly loud sound effects – presumably because they were meant to add a comedic element to the film. He exits the castle and heads over to an exclusive boarding school for girls.

The girls have just been checked on when he looks in through the window. He uses his ring to cut into a pane of glass and gets in to the room. He leans over one girl, Barbara (played young by Marion Kracht) but she awakens and screams – waking all the other girls in the dorm, who scream also. He picks her up and absconds with her, but the local priest and peasants with dogs are soon on his trail. He gets her back to the castle, puts the bite on her and then heads down to the crypt with the mob in pursuit. The mob open his coffin and the priest smashes a spade to use the end as a stake and hammers it into the Count’s chest. The Count begins to rapidly decay – an effect that was ok, I suppose. Dracula is no more.

emerging as a child
Cut to 1976 and a digger unearths a coffin. The workers phone the police and get a detective called Eddi (Eddi Arent). He tries to refuse jurisdiction but eventually agrees to go to them. Just then his boss, the Kommissar (Brad Harris) delays him. By the time he gets there the men are drunk and the coffin has gone. Actually the coffin has been stolen and sold to an antiques dealer – said dealer is on his own with it when it opens and Barbara sits up. She attacks and kills him and then puts her head in her hands. When she looks up she has aged so that she is now a young woman (Evelyne Kraft).

Evelyne Kraft as Barbara
So the police have a murder and the kommissar meets and falls for Barbara – who has managed to get herself a flat, complete with a secret door into a room with her coffin, and a job at a funeral home! She is known for using blood with the corpses and this makes them seem more alive when she has finished decorating them for the family. Actually she is draining their blood out, mixing in some blood bank blood and drinking it herself. There are several slapstick jokes at the expense of two undertakers, which fall absolutely flat.

a bite
Eventually that job will go and without corpses to feed on she starts murdering others, the police suspecting the same person is involved in each attack due to the identical MO – though the victims show no other common connection. Eddi will believe it to be the work of a vampire. But it is a slog getting through – even though the running length is on the short side. We don’t know how she gets the money to buy/rent a flat in the first instance and this is just one of many logical faux pas in the film.

burnt by a cross
As for our vampire, she habitually wears yellow and is mortally afraid of garlic and crosses – the latter will burn her flesh. She never appears during the day and can turn into an awfully crap bat. We don’t know about how vampires are turned in this – she kills several but none turn. Aside from that we get very little lore as well as little story and absolutely no laughs.

That is the big problem with this – a surfeit of comedy. 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: