Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Carnage of Dracula (1964)

Directed by:
William Black

Not a whole lot to say about this amateur student film, shot by the director while he was a student at Florida State University. It's a home movie quality silent short that runs only 17 minutes and would run even less if not for a slow opening title sequence going back and forth over a model graveyard set and some stock footage, both spliced in from what are presumably public domain films. Since there's no sound we get the usual silly non-stop narration added to provide the film with a plot, character history, etc. as vampire Baron Lorbock (Michael Lynn) chases a woman, feeds on her and then returns to his castle home. Vampire hunter Robert Brandon (Gene Densmore), a direct descendant of Van Helsing (says the narrator), drives a stake into the vampire's heart as he rests in a coffin, but the vampire's female companion (Marti Quigg) helps resurrect Lorbock again and the two of them kill Brandon. Meanwhile, some doctor who knows a cure for vampirism and Brandon's nurse girlfriend Betty (Ann Merritt) come to the castle looking for him and encounter the vampires, which leads to a staking, a cat fight and fire burning the castle to the ground (insert more stock footage here). The photography is pretty awful, as is the sound, and a few colorfully lit shots and some sub-H.G. Lewis amateur gore effects fail to provide much interest.

Director William Black is probably best known as a comic book artist and commercial filmmaker and has somewhat recently created his own business; AC Comics/Smarty Pants Entertainment to distribute comic books, films etc. This one is available directly on his site on a 2 disc set called "V Is for Vampire" along with RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1958) and Bava's BLACK SUNDAY (1960). It's probably worth getting if you're curious (there really aren't too many regional 1960s horror home movies on DVD anyway) since the two features on the set are both very good.

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