Blood of Dracula’s Castle

Blood of Dracula’s Castle 1969

Directed by Al Adamson. Written by Rex Carlton.

One of my favourite film podcasts, The Evolution of Horror is about to embark on their 8th season in coming weeks, and this time they’re focusing on vampires. As a lifelong fan of this subgenre, it got me thinking about vampire films I HAVEN’T seen. And that led me to Blood of Dracula’s Castle (1969) and what a wild ride it was!

Directed by Al Adamson, this definitely falls into the “so bad, it’s almost good” category, making it one of his better efforts. Adamson was a classic director of exploitation films, mostly pitched at the drive-in cinema market, which was hugely popular in the US and Australia in the 60s and 70s. As a child of that era, I was genuinely surprised I hadn’t seen this one before. It did have something of a difficult start, being filmed in 1966 and not released until 1969 and there’s an extended version, released separately as Dracula’s Castle.

The story (quite a convoluted beast) finds Dracula and his wife (played with delicious wit by veterans Alexander D’Arcy and Paula Raymond) living the high life under the alias Count and Countess Townsend in a Gothic castle, complete with an inarticulate beast-like servant, gruff and ghoulish butler (played with much tongue-in-cheek by the great John Carradine) and a dungeon inhabited by chained young women, whose blood is slowly drained to sustain the vampires. And it’s all set in the wilds of… California!

But the Count and Countess are only tenants, and the property is inherited by a hip young photographer and his bikini-model fiance who not only want a tour of the property but want to move in! There’s also a more interesting sub-plot involving a psychopathic killer (and friend of the Count & Countess) which gets kind of left behind.

Despite its multitude of flaws, I really quite enjoyed this very camp romp, probably the only things missing were Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Blood of Dracula’s Castle is a fun excursion into 60s Californian Gothic – but certainly no masterpiece! It’s currently available to stream for free on Tubi in Australia though the resolution is sadly, quite poor.

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