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Label:
Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT175-BR

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE (1970) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Michael Murphy, Donna Anderson, Roger Perry, Robert Quarry, Michael Macready
Directed By:  Bob Kelljan
Composed By:  Bill Marx

“A nifty little low-budget exploitation effort that uses its resources to good effect…an off-hand, matter-of-fact tone yields just the right kind of laughter…the surprise ending is like a wicked little punch in the face.” – Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique Online

“Count Yorga’s ambience is pure Hollywood, and the seamy elegance of Robert Quarry’s performance as a mysterious medium who has a handy supply of spirits of the dead lying around downstairs exactly compliments that ambience.” – Roger Greenspun, The New York Times

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) gives us an elegant titular character, an old-world undead gent (Robert Quarry) making his elegantly bloodthirsty way in modern-day Los Angeles. Posing as a hip medium, he attracts young lovelies to his mansion by holding séances; one bereft boyfriend (played by producer Michael Macready) enlists the help of vampire fighter Dr. Hayes (Roger Perry). Also starring Michael Murphy, and distributed by the deathless exploitation factory, American International Pictures.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 1.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1970 / Color
93 MINUTES
RATED PG-13 Vampire Violence, Gore and Some Sensuality

Special Features: Isolated Score Track / Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan / My Dinner with Yorga: The Robert Quarry Rue Morgue Interview, a Reading by David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan / Fangirl Radio Tribute to Robert Quarry with Tim Sullivan / Still Gallery: The MGM Archives / Still Gallery: The Tim Sullivan Archives / Original Theatrical Trailer

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Posted by Mark Turner on March 22, 2016 9:24 PM
A VAMPIRE FOR THE TIMES

Back in the thirties we became acquainted with the vampire Dracula via Bela Lugosi. Things didn’t spark with the vampire craze again until the sixties when Christopher Lee put new blood into the same character in several Hammer films about the famed count. It wasn’t until 1970 that a new blood sucker burst on the scene in a low budget film that drew enough fans to warrant a sequel, COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE.

The movie takes place in present day (1970 that is) Los Angeles where friends of Donna whose mother recently passed away have gathered together to hold a séance conducted by Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), completely unaware of who he really is. Not long after one of the couples are attacked in their van by the Count leaving the young woman a bit drained of blood and with an appetite for eating the pet cat. Looking into the case Dr. Hayes, a family friend, comes to the conclusion that she is suffering from vampirism. The friends make the decision to visit Count Yorga and confront him with this accusation and end his reign of terror. But things never go quite as planned when it comes to angry folks taking on a vampire of any kind.

That’s a rather short summation of the plot here but honestly that’s what it boils down to. The thing is it was never the entire story here that made these films work but instead the updating of the vampire creature that made the film stand out from others. While so many went with the old versions of vampire having their exploits take place in castles well hidden in the Carpathian mountains, this one takes place in LA. Yes, he lives in a castle but nothing like those of the old stories.

The victims of Yorga’s rampage are modernized as well wearing the latest fashion as opposed to the costume dramas of past vampire films. This is a hip group of people who might not be willing to consider that a vampire is a real creature at first but who soon come to grips with the reality of what is going on. Where villagers knew that their legends were based on fact, these people are far removed from those days and take some convincing.

The modernization of the vampire here predates that of Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE and even that harkened back to vampires of the past for the most part. Audiences who loved horror films were glad for the arrival of this film. While it falls into the category of low budget films every penny is seen on screen with some decent performances here as well as situations that are not nearly as bad as many teen monster films from low budget studios at the time. Instead we have a realistic look at a creature that hadn’t been seen before. The success of the film generated a sequel and paved way for the film BLACULA two years later.

Twilight Time once more does an amazing job of presenting a pristine look with this transfer as well as several well-made extras. Those extras include an isolated score track, audio commentary with film historians David Del Valle and Tim Sullivan, a Robert Quarry interview by Rue Morgue magazine, a fangirl radio tribute to Robert Quarry with Tim Sullivan, a still gallery from both MGM archives and Tim Sullivan archives and the original theatrical trailer.

Horror fans, AIP fans, Twilight Time fans and vampire fans will want to make a point of adding this one to their collection. While MGM sold the film in their Midnight Movies series this is the best print you will find of the film. The fact that the name Twilight Time is on it guarantees that.

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