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Dracula & Son (1976)


The first thing I noticed when watching Dracula & Son (1976) was how gorgeous it looks. Next, I noticed the lush score. Like the rest of the film, though, there were diminishing returns. By the time it ended, I could barely remember its most positive elements. It’s not that it’s bad; it’s just so… I don’t know… French?

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Dracula… er, let’s call him “Count Ribovitz,” since Christopher Lee denied he was playing the character, even though the name was in the movie’s title… raises a son in Transylvania until they’re driven away during a Communist takeover. Separated, the Count becomes a famous horror actor in London and Ferdinand (Bernard Memez) is discouraged by nothing but bad luck in Paris.

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The idea of Lee’s character playing a vampire without anyone realizing he’s a vampire is sublime. There are other humorous highlights. Overall, though, it’s subtle humor that feels like is trying to be funny, but just may not really be funny. That’s where I wonder if something is lost in translation.

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There’s not much of a plot until father and son are reunited when the Count comes to Paris to make a movie. Then, they meet Nicole (Marie-Helene Breillat), who works in advertising and wants to build a toothpaste campaign around the Count (another clever idea.) Nicole also resembles Ferdinand’s mother.

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Both men are smitten, and the rest of the film revolves around their competing attempts to woo her. With so much time spent on their rivalry and Ferdinand’s repeated pranks to foil his father’s plans, Dracula & Son drags. A comedic highlight, though, is when he pushes dad’s coffin out the window and tells him, “It fell.”

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As I said when writing about Uncle Was a Vampire (1959) humor is subjective. The bits I mentioned above, and others, made me, if not laugh, smile. Others may laugh more or not at all. For the overall package, though, with my taste, I think the uncle is more consistently funny than the son.



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