Blood For Dracula (1974)

Forty-eight years ago today, the film Blood for Dracula or Andy Warhol’s Dracula premiered. I saw it at a showing in a revival theater in Seattle years ago, I remember it being something I had never seen before. You have to see this movie.

Title: Blood for Dracula
Directed by: Paul Morrissey
Produced by: Andrew Braunsberg, Carlo Ponti
Screenplay by: Paul Morrissey
Story by: Paul Morrissey
Based on Characters and concepts created by Bram Stoker for Dracula
Starring: Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, Vittorio de Sica, Maxime McKendry
Music by: Claudio Gizzi
Cinematography: Luigi Kuveiller
Production Company: Compagnia Cinematografica Champion
Distributed by: Euro International Film
Release date: 1 March 1974 (West Germany), 14 August 1975 (Italy)
Running time: 106 minutes
Country: Italy, France
Language: English

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 two reasons: the lack of virgins in their hometown and how the family’s reputation prevents any normal family from choosing to bring women to 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 (eldest and youngest, respectively) are virgins; Esmeralda thought too plain and past her prime for marriage and Perla only 14 years old (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 turn the two girls into his telepathic 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 strength. La Marchesa confronts, and is stabbed by, Anton, whom she shoots and kills before dying. Mario dismembers Dracula with an axe, killing him and Esmeralda with a stake, and becomes the de facto master and manager of the estate.

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