Count Yorga, Vampire
A contemporary tale of vampirism in Nineteen Seventies set California, America. A Bulgarian count has taken up residence in a secluded hillside stately mansion. Just the count, his disfigured man servant, and a bevy of blood lusting brides !.
Robert Quarry stars as the intense vampire, transported from his homeland of Bulgaria by boat, all the whilst tightly sealed in a sturdy wooden coffin. His formidable servant Brudah watching over his master, particularly during the hours of daylight. Count Yorga soon ingratiates himself with a middle aged woman, who mysteriously dies just a few weeks later. Her daughter Donna is stricken at the loss of her mother, and seeks consoling beyond the grave. Along with her friends Erica, Mike and Paul, she seeks to make contact by means of a séance. The Clairvoyant conducting the séance is none other than Count Yorga !.
Donna and her friends soon become inextricably drawn into the dark domain inhabited by Count Yorga, as he preys upon their mortality and feasts upon their blood !. This group of friends only hope of escaping the clutches of this centuries old vampire lays in the conviction of their love for each other, and the unbridled comprehension to their seemingly fantastical predicament by their scientific friend Doctor James (Jim) Hayes.
Jim’s expertise in the field of haematology is essential in ascertaining what it is that his friends are up against. When Erica falls critically unwell, due to apparent loss of blood and the appearance of two puncture marks in her neck, Jim performs an emergency blood transfusion upon her. Erica has fallen under the hypnotic spell of Count Yorga, who now visits her under cover of night to both feed and transform her into one of his un-dead brides. When Erica begins her first meal of the day feasting upon her freshly killed kitten, in one of several well done shock moments during the movie, her lover Paul, along with her close friends, strongly sign up to Doctor Jim Hayes supposition that they are indeed dealing with a vampire !.
Count Yorga’s hold over Erica soon thereafter becomes dominant, and his dominion extends to that over Donna. When she is drawn to the count’s mansion, through the lure of his overpowering hypnotic suggestion, her lover Paul goes after her alone !. When neither return, and Erica is also missing, it is down to Jim and Mike to out Count Yorga for what he really is. Armed with crucifix and makeshift stakes, the two men attempt to slip into the count’s manor to rescue their friends, and if possible dispatch of the vampire forever.
Given the High Definition treatment, and showing in a very presentable print on the MGM HD Channel, interestingly under the movies original release title in the USA of The Loves Of Count Iorga, Vampire, the film looks terrific and stands up extremely well considering its thirty plus years of age. The contemporary setting in Los Angeles 1970 translates extremely well, and its serious tone sets it above the more camp horror movies of the same era. There really is no moment of light relief within the entire running time, and the chill factor is accentuated by the long periods of natural sounds only, as the musical accompaniment is completely vacant. The application of several sudden out of nowhere, directly running into camera moments of vampiric assaults work very effectively also.
Robery Quarry is perfectly cast as Count Yorga, playing the part with an evident intensity, that conveys the vampires intellect and sinister fortitude with great confidence. Judy Lang in the role of Erica is also very much worthy of mention, as she conveys conviction in her sub ordinance under the spell of Count Yorga, and her natural beauty draws you into her plight, as you feel very much so that her character is genuine.
A more modern take on the vampire legend and a very favourable one indeed. American International Pictures delivered a horror franchise winner in Count Yorga Vampire. An official sequel The Return Of Count Yorga (1971), along with a further pseudo sequel, Deathmaster (1972) followed in fairly quick succession.
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