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ANDY WARHOL’S DRACULA 1974 PAUL MORRISSEY UDO KIER JOE DALLASANDRO GOTHIC ITALIAN HORROR DVD-R!

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Blood for Dracula is a 1974 horror film written and directed by Paul Morrissey and starring Udo KierJoe DallesandroMaxime McKendryStefania Casini, Arno Juerging, and Vittorio de Sica. Upon its initial 1974 release in West Germany and the United States, Blood for Dracula was released as Andy Warhol’s Dracula.

The film involves Count Dracula arriving in Italy to feast upon the blood of virgins, only to find difficulty with this due to the lack of virgins present in Italy.

Filming began shortly after the completion of Flesh for Frankenstein. Italian director Antonio Margheriti is credited in Italian prints of the film despite not directing it. This misattribution led both producer Carlo Ponti and Margheriti to be put on trial for “continued and aggravated fraud against the state” by attempting to gain benefits by law for Italian films.

In the early 1920s, a sickly and dying Count Dracula, who must drink virgin blood to survive, travels from Transylvania to pre-Fascist Italy, following his servant Anton’s plan and thinking he will be more likely to find a virgin in a Catholic country. At the same time, all of Dracula’s family has vanished because of the lack of virgins in their hometown, and because that family’s reputation discourages others, particularly women, from going near Dracula’s castle. Shortly after arriving in Italy, Dracula befriends Il Marchese di Fiore (de Sica), an impecunious Italian landowner who, with a lavish estate falling into decline, is willing to marry off one of his four daughters to the wealthy aristocrat.

Of di Fiore’s four daughters, Saphiria and Rubinia regularly enjoy the sexual services of Mario, the estate’s handyman, a proud peasant and staunch Marxist who believes that the socialist revolution will happen soon in his country. Esmeralda and Perla, the eldest and youngest of the four, respectively are virgins. Esmeralda is seen as too plain and past her prime for marriage, and Perla is only 14 years old (though she is portrayed by 23-year-old Dionisio). Dracula obtains assurances that all the daughters are virgins and drinks the blood of the two who are considered marriageable. However, their “tainted” blood reveals to him the truth and makes him even weaker. Nevertheless, he is able to telepathically turn the two girls into his slaves.

Soon after the Marchese di Fiore travels out of Italy to pay his great debts, Mario discovers that Dracula is a vampire and what he has done to the di Fiore sisters. When he realizes the danger Dracula poses to Perla, the youngest, he uses the excuse of protecting her to rape her. Mario then warns di Fiore’s wife, La Marchesa di Fiore, about Dracula’s plan. Meanwhile, Dracula has drunk the blood of Esmeralda, turning her into a vampire and regaining his strength. La Marchesa confronts Anton, and after he stabs her, she fatally shoots him before succumbing herself to her wound. Mario kills Dracula and Esmeralda, becoming the de facto master and manager of the estate.

In 1973, Paul Morrissey and Joe Dallesandro came to Italy to shoot a film for producers Andrew Braunsberg and Carlo Ponti. The original idea came from director Roman Polanski who had met Morrissey when promoting his film What? with Morrissey stating that Polanski felt he would be “a natural person to make a 3-D film about Frankenstein. I thought it was the most absurd option I could imagine.” Morrissey convinced Ponti to not just make one film during this period, but two which led to the production of both Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula.

One day after the principal shooting for Flesh for Frankenstein was completed, Morrissey had Udo Kier, Dallesandro and Arno Juerging get shorter hair cuts, as filming for Blood for Dracula began immediately. The film featured other directors in the cast, including Vittorio De Sica, who wrote his own lines on the set. Roman Polanski also made a cameo in a tavern scene. Despite other sources’ claims, Polanski was not shooting What? at the time in Italy, as that film had already been released in Italy by the time the film Blood for Dracula went into production. On its release, the film was promoted with Andy Warhol‘s name. When asked about how he contributed to the film, Warhol responded that “I go to the parties,” following up that “All of us at The Factory contribute ideas.”

Italian credits of the film give different credits, including stating Tonino Guerra wrote the screenplay and story, and Franca Silvi edited the film as opposed to Jed Johnson. Antonio Margheriti is credited as the director in the Italian prints, which he later claimed was not true, but that he did direct scenes with Silvia Dionisio and Vittorio de Sica. Udo Kier has stated that other cast members and himself only received direction from Morrissey and that he never saw Margheriti on the set. Margheriti credit was due to Carlo Ponti having an Italian credited in order to obtain benefits by law for Italian films. Ponti and Margheriti were both put on trial later for “continued and aggravated fraud against the state”.

“I just want my coffin back!”

Blood for Dracula was first released as Andy Warhol’s Dracula in both West Germany on 1 March 1974 and the United States on 6 November 1974. A 98-minute version was released theatrically by Euro International Films in Italy on 14 August 1975 as Dracula cerca sangue di vergine e…morì di sete!!! (lit. ’Dracula is searching for virgins’ blood, and…he died of thirst!!!). In Italy, the film grossed a total of 345,023,314 Italian lire. In the United Kingdom, the film passed with cuts to 103 minutes, avoiding being labeled as a video nasty  (However, the film was included on a tertiary list of titles that could potentially be subject to seizure by police in England. It was therefore not submitted for video certification by the BBFC until 1995, which was granted, with approx. 4 minutes of cuts. An uncut version was not released in the UK until 2006). Louis Periano, who distributed the film in the United States, later tried to cash in the success of Mel Brooks‘ film Young Frankenstein and re-released the film as a 94-minute R-rated Young Dracula in 1976 (as opposed to the original X-rated version).

 

color, mono, widescreen, 103 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!

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