Love at First Bite

Dir: Stan Dragoti, 1978. Starring: George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin, Arte Johnson. Comedy.
Love at First Bite

Dracula. Disco. Delusional dufuses. That's right folks, you get the whole package with this ridiculously funny and well-dialogued farce of Dracula.

The year is 1979, and things have certainly changed in 700 years. Count Vladimir Dracula (George Hamilton) and his bug eating servant Renfield (Arte Johnson) are evicted from their castle in Transylvania to make way for government training grounds. Distressed by the notice, he and Renfield try to decide where to live. The only contact that Dracula has had with the modern world is through women's magazines, which he collects to get a glimpse of Cindy Sondheim (Susan Saint James)—a model whom he believes is his soul mate and a reincarnation of women he was fond of centuries ago. In order to pursue her, they travel to New York where she lives, where he will try to win her heart.

The two fly from Transylvania to New York and are first introduced to the joys of lost baggage at the airport, as Dracula's coffin is sent to the wrong location. Then Dracula realizes that people are not afraid of bats, and that most everyone's blood is polluted with booze or drugs, in which the solution to their problem is to rob blood banks. They are then introduced to modern language and slang, and eventually…disco. Once he locates Cindy at a club, the two become smitten at once and begin sharing many romantic evenings together. There's just one problem. Cindy's shrink and former lover, Rosenberg (Richard Benjamin), is a descendant of the late Van Helsing, who tried to slay Dracula many years ago. Once he notices the marks on Cindy's neck and discovers that she is being courted by Dracula, it becomes fang vs. Freudian fool as he puts his reputation and career on the line to stop their love before Cindy gets her third bite and is lost forever.

Never again will you see so many crazy scenarios and chase sequences, many of which I still can't figure out. That's one of the joys of early cinema, besides the quality actors and scripts. Sometimes it really is like watching a magic show, where the lack of technology or computer graphics leaves us speechless at what they were able to pull off.

This is a good satire of horror films, which is hard to find these days, especially on the ageless and familiar tales of classic monsters. George Hamilton and Richard Benjamin steal the show as two loud and theatrical men who are fighting for the soul of their beloved, or in Rosenberg's case, semi-beloved. It features a groovy soundtrack and tons of hilarious New York stereotypes, as well as excellent cameos, including Sherman Hemsley (The Jeffersons). You'll laugh till it hurts at this well-conceived comedy. Highly Recommended!

Posted by:
Edythe Smith
Jun 28, 2010 5:15pm
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