Friday, 2 January 2015


d. Paul Landres (1958)

Count Dracula is a colossal failure when you think about it. He’s wealthy, charming, attractive; he can transform himself into a bat, a wolf, a rat, a fog and has the capacity to live forever. But he’s incompetent and arrogant, a fatal combination that means he is vulnerable to mortal men who have none of his advantages, but are simply sharper, smarter and more organised.

The Return of Dracula illustrates this perfectly. In an attempt to reboot the Dracula franchise for the drive in generation, Dracula comes to atom age California under the assumed identity of a man he murdered back in Transylvania. America was built on immigration, of course, and, under normal circumstances, would have provided Dracula with everything he needed to continue his career as a supernatural serial killer: lots of people, bags of space and plenty of opportunity. With a bit of planning he could spend eternity flitting from state to state, free from suspicion, safe from harm. Instead, he moves in with a suburban family, smashes all the mirrors and starts acting really suspiciously. Within a few hours he has bitten the family cat to death and, a couple of days later, he kills a woman who lives a few doors down. It’s just bad management. Why couldn’t he charm the community he is living in, establish a really good alibi and then fly over to another town to slake his inhuman thirst?

In a small town, of course, the arrival of a dark, surly foreigner followed by a sudden, unexplained death leads to some immediate dot joining so, within a few days he’s being pursued by the crucifix and stake wielding forces of good. Even then, he eschews the chance to put on his cape and move on, instead carrying on as indiscreetly as before. This hubris quickly turns him into a mouldering skeleton with a piece of sharp wood in his chest - again. 

He never learns, does he?

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