Friday, 4 February 2011

Back With More Bite ...

The Return Of Count Yorga

Robert Quarry returns in the role of Count Yorga, to once again stalk the residents of the California hills. This time he preys on an innocent Christian family from his stately mansion, and uses his will to manipulate a young boy named Tommy. His hold over the nearby orphanage boy enables him to use such innocence in his favour, to gain advantage over those who would threaten his cause. Human blood is back on the menu, and Count Yorga is not one to take just a bit part !.

A stylish opening sees the young boy, Tommy, playing kick ball as he plays alone, running freely through grass lands and surrounding trees. He is oblivious to the paupers graves he has walked upon, and even less aware as he takes a momentary rest, that the graves are erupting forth their shallow buried corpses. It is dusk and female vampires rise up in hauntingly well done fashion, and slowly close in upon the now startled boy. He runs away in fright, straight into the open arms of Count Yorga !.

Count Yorga is almost immediately thereafter seen attending a charity fancy dress function at the local community church centre. There he introduces himself to the very pretty and charming Cynthia Nelson (Mariette Hartley), a young woman he feels a strong bond towards. The count experiences an emotion that he had long since forgotten, love. A human emotion that for him as a vampire could threaten his very existence !.

The evening following the fancy dress event culminates in terrifying fashion as the family home of Cynthia is attacked, by vampires !. Cynthia’s mother, father and sister are all brutally assaulted by the blood lusting horde, breaking into the residence through windows and doors. All are drained of their blood and left for dead, with the exception of Cynthia, who is carried off to the waiting Count Yorga. Placed under his hypnotic spell Cynthia believes that she is Count Yorga’s guest at his home, recovering from a car accident involving her and her family. She subconsciously is lead to believe that her family are okay and that they will visit her in a few days once Cynthia has rested under Count Yorga’s care.

During the events of the deadly attack on the family, one residing friend to the homestead, a young mute girl, was asleep in her bed, oblivious to the terrible events occurring. She awakens the next morning to discover the horrific bloody carnage as she enters the family living room. The boy Tommy is there, alive and well, but seemingly in a state of shock. The distraught mute girl grabs Tommy and races off to the police to report the terrible events. Upon returning to the house, with her friend and spiritual comforter, Reverend Thomas, and the police, they are all greeted by a house evidently just empty with no signs of bodies or any signs of invasion. A convenient note is uncovered by the police, stating that the family has gone away for a few days. The mute girl is questioned as to her state of mind. Family friend and physician Doctor David Baldwin, assists both the police and the mute girl, knowing her to be of a sound mind and reliability. The only one that appears unaffected by the events is the young boy Tommy !.

Doctor David Baldwin is convinced that something beyond the realm of traditional beliefs may be at play, but raising the issue of vampires has the police questioning his sanity. There are other attacks occurring, however, and strange bite marks appear on the victims necks. Dr. Baldwin seeks assistance from a professor who confesses to have made his life’s work dedicated to the subject of vampires. Being quite elderly, and clearly eccentric does not overly assist David Baldwin’s cause in establishing a link between recent events and vampires !.

When the mute girl follows an errant Tommy to the gates of Count Yorga’s mansion her own suspicions about the boys involvement become clearer. She sadly pays for her snooping with a sinister finality. It is now up to Doctor David Baldwin to hit home his beliefs that Count Yorga is himself a vampire. With the somewhat derisory assistance of his police inspector friend, along with his junior colleague, the three of them with the Reverend call upon the count during the hours of darkness. Reverend Thomas imposes himself upon Count Yorga, engaging him in conversation whilst the others visit the property through less convivial method, sneaking in to try and establish just what is going on inside !.

It’s not long before true believers of all, as to vampires existing, are made as Count Yorga and his blood thirsting harem bare fangs, and defend their territory. With Cynthia still an enforced guest, though with her consciousness being pricked by flashes of the terrible events involving her and her family, is discovered by Dr. Baldwin and he strives to rescue her.
Reverend Thomas and the two police officers have immediate problems of their own. Set upon by Count Yorga, his obedient brides, and the curiously returning man servant Brudda, killed in the original movie !?, their best laid plans go terribly awry.

The Return Of Count Yorga sticks almost rigidly to the successful formula of the original, so much so that it is almost a remake. Curiously enough the movie could also almost be perceived as a prequel as there is no explanatory link as to how the count is resurrected, and the fact that man servant Brudda is alive and well again here. Slightly odd also is the choice of lead antagonist Doctor David Baldwin, who is played by Roger Perry, the same actor who also portrayed Doctor James Hayes in Count Yorga Vampire. When first he appears you do believe that this may well be a precursor to Count Yorga Vampire. Still, if it isn’t broken, as they say, don’t fix it. The formula that worked so well the first time out clearly was felt to be good enough a second time.

Watching the films back to back as a double bill is in fact perhaps the best way to fully appreciate the fine points of both films. Robert Quarry is most aptly cast in the lead of Count Yorga, the contemporary setting of a modern day setting of Seventies era California plays evocatively in comparison to the glut of, until the time, residual old school vampire classic back drops, and having the count’s loyal servant Brudda back from the dead !?, well what the heck, just like Count Yorga himself you can’t keep a good, bad guy down !.

Throw in the sudden shocks of attacking vampires in slow motion, that were so effective in the original film, smatterings of blood and a mansion that for all intents and purposes behind its exterior walls is a classic Transylvanian castle, and The Return Of Count Yorga Is as entertaining and evocative as the original movie. The unexpected and untraditional bleak endings set the lore of Yorga apart from most other productions of the time, along with the dead pan darkly dry vein of wit interspersed throughout. The symbolic irony of seeking Count Yorga sat watching a Spanish Language version of Hammer Studios, The Vampire Lovers (1970), on television, is shear audacious brilliance. Comparing the two, it is the ambiance and modern starkness of Count Yorga Vampire that wins out by a neck !.

The Return Of Count Yorga Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

No comments:

Post a Comment