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Bob Kelljan
Robert Quarry, Roger Perry, Michael Murphy
Writing Credits:
Bob Kelljan

A couple invites a Count from Hungary to conduct a seance for the woman's recently deceased mother, oblivious to the fact that he is actually a vampire.

Rated GP.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 92 min.
Price: $69.95
Release Date: 10/25/2022
Available Only As Part of 2-Movie “Count Yorga Collection”

• Audio Commentary with Film Critics David Del Valle and C.Courtney Joyner
• Audio Commentary with Film Critic Tim Lucas
• “Fangirl Radio Tribute” Audio Program
• “The Count in California” Featurette
• “I Remember Yorga” Featurette
• “A Vampire in LA” Featurette
• Trailer & Radio Spots
• Image Galleries


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Count Yorga, Vampire [Blu-Ray] (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 11, 2022)

Like the characters involved, vampire movies will never die. For another entry in this everlasting genre, we go to 1970’s Count Yorga, Vampire.

Set in Los Angeles, Donna (Donna Anders) mourns for her recently deceased mother. Desperate for contact, she arranges to stage a séance.

In this setting, she meets recently arrived Bulgarian Count Yorga (Robert Quarry). Little does she know the mysterious European exists as a vampire, one who will take advantage of his new connection with Donna and her friends.

As noted at the start, Vampire joins a well-trodden genre. Does it bring anything fresh to the table?

Not really – maybe boredom, though I doubt it becomes the first yawn-inducing part of its field. Nonetheless, Vampire does provide a surprisingly dull experience.

At least the movie telegraphs this at the start, as the movie subjects us to wholly unnecessary narration about the history and nature of vampires. Did anyone actually need information like that to understand the story soon to come?

Of course not. The intro just feels like wasted space, and matters don’t improve from there.

Rather than bother with character setups, Vampire leaps straight into Donna’s séance. We get no sense of the roles beyond the basics we can glean from that setting.

In better hands, perhaps this would’ve seemed like a gutsy way to start the narrative. In this case, though, it comes across as sloppy and leaves the impression that a reel of film went missing.

Eventually attempts at horror and drama ensue, but these seem flat and uninspiring. Vampire feels like a part of its time and shows a looser than normal structure, almost like an Altman take on the genre.

Rather than seem fresh, the techniques just come across as random and pointless. The whole enterprise seems oddly flat and sluggish.

Our lead doesn’t help, as Quarry creates one of the dullest bloodsuckers committed to film. I suspect he got the part mainly because he looks more than a little like classic Dracula portrayer Christopher Lee. Quarry brings next to no menace or charm or passion to the role.

I like that Vampire attempts a few unusual threads for its genre. Unfortunately, the end result becomes a slow, dull tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Count Yorga, Vampire appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not a bad image, this one came with more weaknesses than expected.

Sharpness varied. This meant that while much of the movie came with pretty solid delineation, more than a few soft shots materialized.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. With a strong layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any overuse of noise reduction.

Print flaws didn’t dominate but they created distractions. Sporadic specks and marks occurred as well as a few blotches. Again, these didn’t become heavy, but they persisted through a lot of the film.

Colors tended toward a low-key brownish-red feel. The hues seemed reasonably well-rendered, if not impressive.

Blacks appeared mostly dark – albeit a smidgen inky – while shadows could seem somewhat dense. All of this felt good enough for a “C+”.

Similar feelings greeted the adequate DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Vampire. Speech tended to become a little reedy, but the lines remained intelligible and lacked edginess.

Music didn’t display great range, but the score came across as acceptably clear. Effects fell into the same range, as they sounded thin hut clean and lacked much distortion. Ultimately, this became an acceptable mix for a 52-year-old movie.

As we shift to extras, we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from film critics David Del Valle and C. Courtney Joyner. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, genre domains, influences, aspects of the production and related areas.

Expect a somewhat scattered discussion here, as Del Valle and Joyner hop all over the place. Much of the track exists as their appreciation for the film and the genre in general.

Indeed, at times this feels like a competition to see who can name the most “B” horror movies. We also get a fair amount of praise for the cast and crew, with a particular focus on actor Robert Quarry.

Some useful material does emerge, so I can claim I learned a bit about the various domains. The end result just doesn’t feel as concise and focused as I’d hope, though.

For the second commentary, we hear from film critic Tim Lucas. He provides his own running, screen-specific discussion of cast and crew, production domains, genre topics and connections, themes and thoughts about the movie, and related domains.

Inevitably, we get some repetition from the first commentary, but this one feels more complete and less a collection of plaudits. Even with a few iffy spots, this becomes a largely informative track.

Another audio-only component, Fangirl Radio Tribute fills 45 minutes, 55 seconds and provides an episode of that podcast. Here host Jessica Dwyer chats with filmmaker Tim Sullivan about actor Robert Quarry.

Should it come as a surprise that something called “Fangirl” leans heavily toward appreciation? No, but this makes the program less than valuable.

This really becomes “Fanboy Radio” since Sullivan heavily dominates. A major Yorga fan, he knew Quarry late in the actor’s life, and those notes dominate.

Which would work if Sullivan told us much about Quarry. Instead, Sullivan regales us with stories about all the ways he helped Quarry in the actor’s final years.

It’s nice that Sullivan performed these actions, but the discussion feels an awful lot like self-congratulation. Don’t expect to learn much here beyond what a great guy Sullivan is.

Three featurettes follow, and The Count in California runs nine minutes, 44 seconds. It offers notes from critic Heather Drain.

Billed as an appreciation, Drain discusses what she think makes Yorga a fine film as well as some notes on the sequel. I don’t agree that Yorga works, but she gives us some good arguments.

I Remember Yorga goes for 14 minutes, 53 seconds and brings comments from filmmaker Frank Darabont. He tells us of his love for the Yorga movies as well as how he views it differently as an adult vs, as a kid. Darabont offers some interesting thoughts.

Finally, A Vampire in LA spans nine minutes, 30 seconds and offers remarks from actor Michael Murphy. He covers aspects of his career as well as his memories of the Yorga shoot. This becomes a brief but enjoyable reel.

In addition to a trailer and two radio spots, we find two Image Galleries: “Posters and Stills” (83 frames) and “Tim Sullivan Archive (25). Both offer good material.

Despite some potential positives, Count Yorga, Vampire winds up as an oddly boring horror story. It comes with too much pedantic talk and too little actual terror. The Blu-ray provides erratic but acceptable picture and audio along with a good mix of bonus materials. Don’t expect Vampire to offer an impressive genre effort.

Note that this Blu-ray of Vampire comes as part of a 2-movie package called “The Count Yorga Collection”. It also includes 1971’s The Return of Count Yorga.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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