Count Yorga: Vampire (1970)
Directed by Rob Kelljan

Starring Judith Lang Robert Quarry

From the director of "Scream Blacula Scream" and episodes of "Wonder Woman" comes this minor low-budget classic from the earliest days of the 1970s. Quarry is perfect as an Eastern European vampire count transplanted to America. When he conducts a seance for two seventies couples, he becomes interested in one of the gals (played by gorgeous Judith Lang).

Stranding the woman and her boyfriend in their van, Yorga makes his attack late at night, after the two have done some groovy love-making. The woman is naturally infected with vampirism, leaving it to the modern seventies couples to figure out why their friend now has puncture marks on her neck and a new taste for cat blood. One wonders if they used a real dead kitten for the cat blood scene.

It's all by-the-numbers vampirism, and even includes a Van Helsing-like doctor(Roger Perry) who believes in the occult and figures out the only way to stop Yorga is with a state through the heart. An entertaining and simple translation of the Dracula story set in early '70s suburbia, "Yorga" is not very original. But all in all, it's a nicely done, leisurely-paced, well-photographed horror gem. Not as interesting as harder-edged horror from the same decade -- or the mid-1970s vampire classic "Martin" by George Romero -- "Yorga" is nonetheless a fine addition to the genre, and was successful enough to spawn a bigger budget sequel.

Murphy has gone on to become a pretty recognizable character actor, appearing in Wes Craven's "Shocker" among other films. Quarry later appeared in the Vincent Price effort "Madhouse."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


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