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The film begins by showing us a coffin being removed from a ship, then
trucked out to an estate in modern day (circa 1970) Los Angeles. On top
of this, we hear narration telling us a bit about vampire legends. Soon
after, we meet Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), as he conducts a séance to
try to contact Donna's (Donna Anders) deceased mother. The séance turns
slightly chaotic, and Donna's friends begin to suspect that there's
something odd about the Count, especially when they learn that he had
been dating Donna's mother, requested that she not be cremated, as her
earlier wishes had it, but didn't turn up at the funeral. The film
consists of Donna's friends trying to learn more about, and
subsequently finding themselves further and further into trouble with,
Count Yorga. It is no mystery, due to the title of the film, that he is
Although Count Yorga, Vampire is a bit talky in the beginning, the dialogue is good, and it gets even better as the film progresses. For viewers eager for more action than dialogue, they do not have to wait long. By the end of the séance scene, which comes maybe 10 minutes into the film, they should be interested, and by the end of the van scene, maybe 15 minutes in, they should be satisfied. The rest of the film is a very effective mixture of action and clever, dialogue-heavy scenes.
Count Yorga, Vampire is one of the earlier attempts to place a Dracula-like figure in a modern setting. We certainly couldn't say that the film has no flaws, but for many viewers, including me, there are qualities to this film that enable it to rise above the flaws, and it ends up as a 10 out of 10 for me.
One of the most effective elements of the film is the extensive hand-held camera work, which in combination with early 1970s film stocks and processing techniques gives Count Yorga, Vampire an atmosphere akin to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The difference is that the focus here is a suave, debonair vampire living in a beautiful mansion, surrounded by beautiful vampire-women.
For my money, Quarry is as good a "Dracula" as anyone who has played the role, including Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. There is also a Renfield-like character here in Brudah (Edward Walsh). Although I love Dwight Frye (Renfield in the 1931 Dracula) as much as anyone else, Brudah may be the creepiest henchman in any vampire film.
Writer/director Bob Kelljan seemed to be aware that there was a campy element to the film, and it is acknowledged, but it remains very understated. For most of the film, Kelljan is going for creepiness and shocks, and he gets them.
A 10 out of 10 from me.
When we think of great vampire portrayals, normally the names of Lugosi and Christopher Lee immediately pop into our heads. Robert Quarry, however, is as convincing a vampire as both of those great actors. His performance and demeanor as a Bulgarian Count in this film is truly outstanding. He lives in a large house somewhere in California and terrorizes young women and their boyfriends. What makes this picture a better than average vampire film is that it has a very tense and atmospheric plot structure. We basically know what fate will befall our innocent(just) protagonists, but we become riveted to their actions and those of the Count. Quarry plays the Count with a charm that is both amiable and yet caustic. He makes one of the wittiest vampires in film. The rest of the cast is adequate, and I think Roger Perry does a wonderful job as a blood specialist who goads Count Yorga one evening into talking about the supernatural. A must see for the classic horror fan.
Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), a vampire, comes from Bulgaria to 1970 Los
Angeles and starts making a coven of beautiful female vampires. Will
their boyfriends be able to stop him?
This was a huge hit in 1970 because it was the first modern vampire film. Up until then all vampire films had been set in Europe in the 1800s or early 1900s. This was the first vampire film set in modern day. Still it isn't a great film. It was originally shot with soft core sex scenes which were (pretty obviously) edited out and it was turned into a sleazy PG rated film. It was made on a very low budget (it shows) and suffers from some horrible 1970s fashions and dialogue. Also the makeup on the female vampires is pretty poor. Still this isn't a total disaster either.
The script is actually pretty intelligent considering this was a fairly rushed production. The acting is good--especially by Quarry who makes an imposing vampire. Very subtle performance but he handles the violent scenes quite well too. It moves at a fairly quick pace and has a great bloody climax--pretty extreme for a PG film. This won't impress audiences like it did in 1970 but it's still not that bad.
The 2000 video version I have has "Yorga" spelled as "Iorga".
At the time this film was made, vampires were almost always slow and hypnotic. This was really the first vampire film that treated them as swift and animalistic. That made this film surprisingly effective. It was even more surprising since it was originally supposed to be a pornographic vampire film called THE LOVES OF COUNT IORGA. It is flawed, but I still think it is the most effective vampire film I have ever seen. And I have seen quite a few.
Once again, as in Vampire Lovers, the traditionally based vampire legend comes back from the grave containing the permissive sexual standards of the times. The end result is Count Yorga, Vampire, a wonderfully fast-moving, edge of your seat scare ride that keeps you taunt until the shocking end. We first meet Count Yorga at a seance he holds for a group of friends, one of which has just lost her mother. During the seance, Count Yorga builds a strong bond between Donna, the grieving daughter, and himself. Everyone at the seance agrees that the Count is refined, well-mannered, and eloquent. We soon find out that Count Yorga is one of the most blood-thirsty and ruthless vampires we've seen on screen in years. He eliminates each of the friends one by one until it's up to two remaining friends to become reluctant vampire hunters to save Donna from an existence of living death. Count Yorga Vampire was made on a very small budget. However, nothing was spared as far as creativity and skill. Robert Quarry makes your blood run cold as the modern day Count Dracula, and Roger Perry is driven and pretty funny as Dr. Hayes, the modern day Dr. Van Helsing. This genuinely frightening movie contains scenes that you won't forget easily. There was a sequel called Return of Count Yorga, but after seeing this movie, you'll wish for a remake of this one instead of a pretty mediocre sequel.
Bob Kelljan's "Count Yorga,Vampire" is an effective horror film which has plenty of suspense and atmosphere.Robert Quarry("Madhouse")is simply outstanding as a deadly vampire Count Yorga and there are some sexy vampiresses.The film may be a little too tame for some people's tastes,but there is enough thrills to satisfy horror fans.Highly recommended.
You have to know what you're in for when you sit down to watch a movie
like "Count Yorga." Leave your expectations of lavish special effects,
intricate plotting, and deep character development at the door. This
movie is about what most vampire movies are about cool confrontations
with the undead, spiced with some lightweight eroticism. If that's your
bag, you should like this.
But I'm already sounding too critical. I honestly think that "Yorga" has several strong points which elevate it above the standard bloodsucker flick. Chief among them is actor Robert Quarry, who cuts a striking figure as the Count. His performance walks a very fine line between camp and credibility, and somehow he pulls it off. He plays the best kind of vampire suave and smart and friendly, until of course he decides to dispatch his opponents with almost animal savagery.
There are some memorably horrifying moments, including the infamous cat scene and Roger Perry's final confrontation with Yorga in the crypt. I also enjoy the séance - a funny way to set the scene and introduce the characters (such as they are). On the downside, Perry is a faintly annoying actor (I much prefer the secondary hero, Michael Murphy, who later played the thankless role of the mayor in "Batman Returns"), and there are some strange cuts in the action where sex scenes were apparently excised.
On the whole, though, I have little to complain about. It seems that vampires are always up to the same tricks putting the bite on women and fighting off their vengeful boyfriends but as long as the vampires are cool and the women are pretty, I'll tune in.
I was a bit surprised by this rather low budget 1970s incarnation of
vampire films. That's because around this same time period, vampire
films were getting a bit stale and silly--with too many Hammer Dracula
films (the franchise was getting weaker due to so many sequels) as well
as dumb films like OLD Dracula and the Blacula films (which weren't
terrible, but they sure were silly). However, despite my fear that this
would be another stale film, this one turned out to be better than
average and well worth a look. While only a nut would compare this to
the greatness of Dracula or NOSFERATU, it still is a decent example of
Before talking about the plot, there was something odd I noticed and that was how sexy the film was and it looked, at times, like it was a soft-core porno movie. However, again and again when it looked like it was going that direction, the movie abruptly changed direction--sometimes as if scenes were edited out to make this a film for general viewing. I checked IMDb for this and was not at all surprised to find that this was indeed the case. For example, a lesbian sex scene seemed about to occur--then the scene just ended. In another case, a woman was wearing a very revealing nightgown and began a very torrid scene with Iorga (there were two spellings in the film) and this just ended as well. There was also a very gratuitous scene involving a couple making love in a van for absolutely no reason--but again, with creative editing you really didn't see anything! As a result, the film is still quite sexy--but also one you could probably still let your teens watch.
Iorga/Yorga lives in the Los Angeles area in a house that looks more like a castle than a house. Even in crazy L.A., this house was definitely out of place! The film begins with his having a séance with three couples and it's soon apparent that the Count has magical hypnotic powers. Soon, it also becomes rather obvious that the Count is a heterosexual vampire--with strong desires for the three women but only a desire to kill off the men.
Many elements are taken from Dracula--even including a Dr. Helsing-like character. Despite the familiarity, the decent acting and nice update of the old tale make this worth a look. Plus the performance by the guy playing the Count was pretty cool.
Count Yorga (1970) was one of my childhood favorites. Like most of the
films that I saw when I was younger I watched it on a small black and
white T.V. My dad was also a fan of this one as well. It was one of the
first movies I saw on videotape. This movie is a culture clash flick.
An old school vampire living in the early seventies. The Count comes to
California and starts up a harem of sexy vampires. Their angry
boyfriends decide to team up together to try and put an end to the
Count's midnight snacks. Total 70's action her folks. Count Yorga is
one who's not to be trifled with. So grab some garlic and a crucifix
'cause Count Yorga might be in your neighborhood. Robert Quarry is the
man as Count Yorga, and what's up with the coffin movers? Time capsule
1970's "Count Yorga" is one of those movies that some how manages to be both cheesy and yet, spooky at the same time. The film opens with a coffin being unloaded from a ship, onto a truck and I think anyone who's seen these types of movies before knows what that means. From there, we meet Donna, her friends, boyfriend, and the mysterious Count Yorga, who possesses great power and knowledge concerning the occult. Eventually, our characters find out that Yorga is no mere mortal, but instead one of the undead. From there it just gets better and better, as our heroes realize they must destroy Yorga before he turns Donna into the undead. The movie has plenty of cheese in it and as such there are scenes where you can't help but burst out laughing. Yet, the movie has a lot going for it as well, like the capable direction and writing of Bob Kelljan, the certain charm that the overall look of the movie has, despite the low budget, and some creepy and disturbing scenes like the woman who, after being bitten by Yorga, decides that eating her cat is a good way to get some iron. But the thing that really makes the movie so good is Robert Quarry's performance as Count Yorga. His presence is so strong that he is able to rise above what ever flaws there are of the film and portrays Yorga as someone who is charming and intelligent, but underneath is something that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. Also, its interesting to see the first vampire movie that was able to successfully update the vampire to a modern setting like Los Angelos. If you love vampires like I do, I highly recommend this movie for your collection. And remember, as the narrator says in the beginning of the movie, "if one is superstitious, even on a small, seemly insignificant level, one must be vulnerable to all superstitions, conceivably even those of vampires".
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