The 2012 October Horror Challenge Begins

Hello, hello, hello. The Bitch House is back for this year’s October Horror Challenge, and possibly even beyond that. I plan on blogging my views here throughout the month, with small reviews of each film I watch, grouped together by day. So here we go with 1 October’s films! NOTE: FTV = first time view.

Count Yorga, Vampire (1970, a.k.a. The Loves of Count Iorga, Vampire) – FTV
Directed by Bob Kelljan

Count Yorga, vampire, poses as a psychic by day, but is a…vampire…by night. And that’s the ballgame! No really, there isn’t so much a plot for this movie as there is a series of scenes that drag on for a total of 90-odd minutes. The worst part of the whole thing is that there were little moments of potential in there, including a lesbian possible sex scene which is marked by two female vampires kissing, then the camera pans over to Count Yorga, vampire, while he watches them kiss for like five minutes or something. Hinted at is also the fact that Count Yorga, vampire, has a butler who is probably a werewolf, but don’t worry, you won’t see that, either. Basically, the whole movie consists of awesome scenes that you don’t ever see.

pictured: not Udo Kier

There’s a lot of things wrong with Count Yorga, Vampire as a horror film, from the lack of acting talent to the fact that everything cool happens offscreen, from the horrid dialogue to the fact that Count Yorga, vampire, wears a totally stereotypical red-lined black cape to the godawful scene where one of the vampire ladies is eating what looks like a live kitten with red paint on its back. The worst part is that even the kitten looks bored. Poor thing.
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The Return of Count Yorga (1971) – FTV
Directed by Bob Kelljan

Far better a film than its predecessor, but that isn’t saying much when there’s nowhere to go but up. At the very least, Kelljan seems to have learned from his previous mistakes as a director and tried to create a more visually stimulating picture with Count Yorga, vampire, returning to his usual shenanigans. This time, he poses as a mysterious benefactor for an orphanage, and promptly goes about raising his legion of zombie vampire babes to wreak havoc. As one does. The return of Count Yorga, vampire, means one thing: better scares and set pieces, including an effective home invasion early on, and a scene where our leading lady is tormented by the vampire horde calling her name repeatedly. The Return of Count Yorga also boasts the first screen credits for Rudy DeLuca, who should be familiar to Mel Brooks fans, and Craig T. Nelson, best known to horror fans as the Freeling family patriarch in Poltergeist. Unfortunately, there isn’t much else going for Count Yorga, vampire.

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The Ghoul (1933) – FTV
Directed by T. Hayes Hunter

The first British horror film of the sound era and starring Boris Karloff as the titular ghoul, this film would make a decent companion piece to The Mummy (1932). It’s equal parts Egyptology horror, old dark house flick, and Expressionistic creepshow, although there was one brief scene that especially caught my eye:

left, The Ghoul; right, The Exorcist (click to embiggen)

While I don’t know if William Friedkin was directly influenced by this rather obscure horror film, these images side by side are rather striking.

Well, that concludes day one of the October Horror Challenge. Stay tuned for day two.

Tally so far:
3 FTVs
3 total views

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