Oct 11, 2014

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula

1971 USA
Directed by: Laurence Merrick

Angelica and Guy, a young couple out for a night on the town finds themselves at Dracula's Dungeon. A dark and strange nightclub dedicated to the occult. Within they find drunks, freaks and a mysterious count Adrian who constantly observes them through their evening. As Guy drops of Angelica for the night she gets a nocturnal visit from the mysterious count who sucks her blood and starts weaving her under his spell.

Angelica visits the doctor to find out why she's feeling ill. The doctor examines her and finds two bitemarks on her neck and tells her she is suffering from bloodloss. Jokingly he adds that the cause of her problem might just be a vampire. The very evening, during a party at Angelica's house, count Adrian mysteriously shows up to seduce her. Angelica quickly falls for his charms and sinks deeper and deeper into a shadowy world of vampires. Meanwhile, Guy and her concerned doctor must help her before it's too late.

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula is a strange little film. Being part horror and comedy, the film can't quite pull off anything it sets out to do. The plot is annoyingly obvious most of the time, and treating the whole affair as a mystery seems almost like an insult to the viewer. The film often tries to add comic relief, with bad puns and horrible jokes, which falls somewhere between cheesy and downright awkward. Odd dialogue pops up in every other scene and constant close ups of the Count sporting plastic fangs litter the film.

The acting ranges from poor to awful, and the actors can't seem to know how to react to the scenes they are in. Count Adrian, played by Des Roberts, reeks of overacting and he speaks in a pure non-descript vampire accent which sounds like a mix of the count from sesame street and Bela Lugosi. The occult aspects of the film seem quite random, mixing European vampiric myth with overlong scenes of a Macumba ritual (Brazilian Witchcraft) during the ending of the film.

Although there are many bad things to be said about the film, I can't quite help liking it more than I'd like to admit. Many of the scenes are awash in red, yellow and green lighting that adds a surreal quality to the film. And the psychedelic organ soundtrack fits nicely during the creepy scenes of the film. The entire Dracula's Dungeon castle feels like a bizarre funhouse filled with dark secrets; a caged gorilla, crazed cultists in the basement, a gypsy fortune teller and a tiger named Alucard.

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula ends up being at best a mediocre oddity. It manages little of what it sets out to do and what it gets right isn't enough to recommend the film to anyone but the most diehard psychotronic geeks out there. It's awkward, strange and predictable, but just entertaining enough to watch to the end.

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