Paul Naschy, if you’re a horror fan you should now that name. He’s an actor and screenwriter form some of the most well-known Spanish Horror films of the 70’s and 80’s. He is known as the “Lon Chaney of Spanish Cinema by many. He even had a large run of Werewolf films, in fact he played almost every horror monster out there. Sometimes he even played Dracula. In fact in this film, Count Dracula’s Great Love he not only wrote the screenplay, but he also portrays the Count.
Count Dracula’s Great Love is the story of Dracula of course. In this the alter ego is Dr Wendell Marlow. You see he has just purchased an old Sanitarium up in the castles. The film opens with 2 men delivering a large crate. Can you guess who/what is in there. They decide to check the place out, as they assume if you buy a big castle you probably have money and jewels lying about. Unfortunately one gets a nice axe shot to his head and the other gets his throat ripped out. All you see of the killer is the black cape.
In a cool opening sequence these kills flash over the opening credits of the picture.
Once the film begins it’s the story of a young woman named Karen, she and 3 other hot girls are riding along in a stage coach when the driver is suddenly killed and the coach wrecked when it loses a wheel. They decide to all seek shelter in the closest possible place which happens to be the Sanitarium the Dracula has just purchased.
He of course invites them all in and throughout the course of the film begins biting them to turn them into his slaves. He plans on bringing his daughter back to life and to do that he needs Karen for the last ritual as she is a virgin.
This film packs a hell of a punch. I would rate the Spanish Horror field leaps and bounds about the films Hammer put out. Count Dracula’s Great Love is over 40 years old and still holds up. In fact it would probably have a hard time getting an R rating by today's standards.
As it’s a vampire film it focuses on the erotic, and pure sexual tone of the vampire. Naschy does fine as the count and the film features a good amount of nudity. The gore scenes are great, lots of blood to satisfy the gore hounds out there. And the atmosphere is fantastic. Some of the best visuals I have ever seen in any vampire film. From low lighting to fog, and even slow motion this really captures the feel and essence of a classic vampire story.
The dialogue all fits to the time and style of the film. People out there have finally after all these years begun to realize that Vampires are actually sexual predators. Most all vampire stories are actually love story’s if you dissect them, and this film really fits that style.
Most of these films from this era are heavily censored but luckily Vinegar Syndrome has picked up the rights and are releasing it fully uncut on Blu-ray. Like most of these titles it will have the standard release as well as the limited edition. The extras included are
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack
• Scanned & restored in 2k from 35mm internegative
• Commentary track with director Javier Aguirre and lead actor Paul Naschy, moderated by Angel Gomez Rivero
• New video interview with actress Mirta Miller
• Includes both the English dub and original Spanish language soundtrack
• International theatrical trailer
• Still gallery
• 8 page booklet by Mirek Lipinski
• English and Spanish subtitles
• Reversible cover artwork
I have to say the transfer is amazing and any fan of horror, erotic thrillers, of vampire films should definitely add this one to their collection.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars.