Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Return of Count Yorga, More Frightening than the Original

"Count Yorga, Vampire" (see my review on this blog from February 5th) may be one of the scariest films of the 1970s.  In 1971, the sequel, "The Return of Count Yorga" hit the drive-ins.  Robert Quarry reprises his role as the charming Count, and in a rarity, the sequel may be scarier than the original...and that's saying a lot.  Before directing episodes of "Charlie's Angels," Bob Kelljan directed these two horror movies.  Today we will examine the sequel, that was not afraid to push the limits on the taboo.
The plot:  Count Yorga is back...don't ask how.  As the film begins, women push out of graves, presumably victims of the Count.  The un-dead babes then grab a little boy and turn him into a slave of Yorga.  Cynthia (Mariette Hartley) works at a neighboring orphanage which Yorga has tabbed an all you can eat buffet.  As Yorga visits the place, he bites the beautiful Mitzi (Jesse Welles) and falls in love with Cynthia.  Cynthia's arrogant boyfriend, Dr. David Baldwin (Roger Perry), is very protective.  That night, Yorga dispatched about a dozen of his wives to Cythia's household (see photo below).  In a most chilling scene, the wives massacre Cynthia's mom, dad, and sisters in front of her eyes and abscond with the shocked babe.  Now under Yorga's spell, Cynthia doesn't remember the attack.
In a horrific and heartbreaking scene, the lone surviving sister, Jennifer (Yvonne Wilder, also a co-writer of this film) who is also a deaf mute, tries to scream when she discovers her mutilated family.  In a very forbidden area, Jennifer will later be killed by the little boy who is now Yorga's henchman.  A little boy butchering a maternal figure in her sleep is unsettling in 2014, never mind 1971.  As David enlists the help of two cops (Ray DeLuca and Craig T. Nelson), the posse make their way to Yorga's mansion to find Cynthia.  They will actually find more than they bargained for as Yorga's harem awaits their arrival.  
Though a B-movie in every sense, including opening at drive-ins, both these "Count Yorga" films undoubtedly influenced some masters of horror.  Stephen King and director Tobe Hooper most certainly used elements from these films in "Salem's Lot" which horrified audiences nearly a decade later.  With a fraction of the budget as later, more famous vampire films, "Count Yorga" is definately the scariest bloodsucker of the past 50 years.  

No comments:

Post a Comment