10/29/13

Retro Film Report #39: Dracula. The Dirty Old Man (1969)


When an already terrible movie has to redub the entire film from scratch (because the original sound was so poor and didn't line up), it starts to transcend the "terrible" and enter into the murky waters of "train wreck". Add the fact that the film is beyond tasteless, mean spirited, and tacky to the fullest extent of the word, and you now have left the realm of "train wreck" and entered the realm of "dumpster fire".

So, if you're in the mood for a dumpster fire - something akin to burning garbage, then this may be for you. It's inept, poorly executed, and without any redeeming quality... other than its shameless bad taste which it revels in.  When I saw it for the first time, I was slack jawed amazed..... when I saw it the fifth time, I realized that I obviously have very bad taste in films, because here I go again.

But, hey. Tasteless incompetence can be fun when it's done wrong.... horribly, horribly wrong.  And I love every minute of it.  This is a 44 year old dumpster fire that still smells like shit.  Take a whiff and see for yourself, if you dare.



The movie begins with music that sounds like a lousy Doors cover band sleepwalking through the instrumental portions of "The End".  Then comes the narration:
There across the desert was where I had my first experience.  As I looked out into the beautiful hills beyond, beyond the beautiful hills, I saw a panorama of beautiful hills. However, as beautiful as it may seem, death lurked behind the beautiful hills, behind the beautiful hills.  
It was a day just like any other day.... which doesn't say much. And then all of a sudden the sky turned. And I saw a blue mountain -- back behind a blue mountain -- back behind another blue mountain. And then I knew that I was in the land of blue mountains. 

Wow!  That is an introductory narrative like no other. Even Ed Wood's clunky dialog doesn't hold a candle to this.  I'm hooked!



Now we are introduced to Mike (Billy Whitton) and Ann (Ann Hollis).  They're just arriving at Ann's house after a date.  "I had such a wonderful time tonight, Mike.  Thanks for taking me out."

Mike reminds me of a sleazy Wayne Newton.  Ann reminds me of Ms. Blaylock  (Billie Whitelaw) from The Omen, Damien's nanny - but younger and with red hair.  Note that young Whitelaw used to look quite good - you may recall from Movie Reviews #40
Ann: "With all the other girls at the paper, I don't know why you'd want to pick on me?"
Mike: "Maybe you're special."
Oh, Mike you sly dog.


Luring behind the foliage is Alucard (which the opening credits were kind enough to point out, is "Dracula" spelled backwards).  Groan.  That's every bit as cheesy as Robert DeNiro's character in Angle Heart - Louis Cypher (Get it? Lucifer... I think I'm going to be sick).

Incredibly, the dubbed voice for Alucard sounds almost exactly like Jackie Mason.  Let that statement sink in.   Obviously, there's an attempt at comedy here, but it's woefully unfunny.


The randy Hebrew vampire then begins spying on Ann, all the while making wisecracks that would make Woody Allen sound Gentile.  It's like being at peepshow hosted by David Brenner. Oy vey!

It should be noted at this point that NO ONE from this film went on to do anything in Hollywood again. Aside from one girl who did voice work in Yogi's First Christmas, this was a career ender for everyone involved.


The next day, Mike and Ann are back at work.  Ann is wearing a red crushed velvet suit with miniskirt and frilly lace (Austin Powers would be pleased).  Mike is wearing is wearing something from the James Garner fashion line.


Mike parleys with his secretary, Joan (Joan Picket) like any warm blooded 70s male.  He learns that the boss wants him to travel to Nelson's Landing where he will meet with a Mr. Alucard.  It seems this Alucard has opened up a mine out there which may bring in some much needed business to the area.

Nelson's Landing is a remote location in Nevada near the Colorado River.  The actual filming location however, was Bronson Canyon, CA.   (The "in town" scenes were filmed in Dallas.)


After an all day drive, Mike meets up with Alucard (Vince Kelley) at Nelson's Landing.  What follows is what of the dumbest exchanges in cinema history:
Alucard: Good Evening!
Mike: Damn! You scared me -- scared the hell out of me.
Alucard: What you think? I was checking out the place, I didn't hear you come in. But now that you're here...
Mike: Yeah well, my name is Mike Waters and I was looking for the bathroom.
Alucard: How do you do. I'm sorry but we don't have good bathing facilities here.
Mike: What'd you say?
Alucard: I said, we don't have good places for going here in the shaft. But I want you to know that --
Mike: You talk funny. You really do.
Alucard: Well don't you worry about it.
Much of this incomprehensible nonsense has to do with the fact that the dubbed voices are just "winging it" trying their best to make the words match with the lips as best they can.   If you've ever seen the Bad Lip Reading stuff on YouTube, you'll understand what's going on here.


Alucard puts Mike under his spell and lays out his master plan... in the most cumbersome and awkward manner imaginable.
I'm going to make you a deal. I want for you to go out and get me every night a different girl. You like to do that for me? You would have fun! What's left over, I give you. I'm gonna make you a Jackal-man.
Remember to read all of Alucard's quotes in the voice of Jackie Mason.  If you don't know Jackie Mason, then use Professor Zoidberg from Futurama. They're roughly the same.



Now things escalate fast.  Mike has stomach cramps, falls into a pile of garbage (symbolic of this movie, perhaps?) and turns into the Jackal-Man.  He corners Joan (the secretary with the funny hat) in a dark alley. She faints and is scooped up by Alucard who appears out of nowhere.

I should also point out that Mike has been named Irving Jeckyl by Alucard.... so, there's that.

.
Alucard takes Joan back to his cave, ties her up, and starts manhandling her.  Now, in addition to the goyish Dracula dub, we get Joan's dubbed squeals and moans of terror.... which, at times, sound disturbingly like Shirley Booth (you may know her as Hazel or Mrs. Claus).  Now I doubt Shirley Booth spent much time dubbing shitty horror movies, but you never know.  Maybe as a favor to a friend.
"I'm going to introduce to you some joy like you've never had before in your life!"


In the next scene, the Jackal-Man attacks an unlucky couple exiting a building.  The hipster doofus gets straight up murdered, while the girl is pinned to the car and magically teleported away by Alucard.


The Jackal-Man is like, "What the hell is happening and what am I doing?" which coincidentally is what most viewers are asking themselves at this point.


I believe this victim, teleported into the arms of Alucard, is Carol played by Sue Allen - who has the distinction of being the only person from this film to go on and do anything in Hollywood again.  Albeit rather pitiful, at least this wasn't a complete career ender as it was everyone else on the set.

Sue Allen provided singing voice work in The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't (1972) and Yogi's First Christmas (1980).  Here she is getting manhandled by a vampire...


The Yiddish Dracula undresses Carol and makes a rather mean spirited comment saying her boobs were much better than the last one's.  Poor Joan!  Bad enough she had to suffer the indignity of being fondled on camera, but to also have her breasts criticized in such a way..... I hope she put the Dracula: The Dirty Old Man paycheck towards college tuition and had the last laugh.


The next scene I believe should not have been in this movie.  It should have ended up on the cutting room floor.  The Jackal-Man invades a home, kills a man and then rapes and murders a woman.  It's all rather graphic and not at all humorous.  Up till now, everything may have been in bad taste but it wasn't disturbing.  A scene like this has its place in A Clockwork Orange, not a tongue-in-cheek horror flick.


Jackal-Man abducts another chick which Alucard proceeds to grope and voice his disappointment for her cup size.  At this point things have gotten rather repetitive.  While I admire the alacrity with which they do business, it's starting to get old.


Next we meet Larry and his gal Susan.  The actor who played Larry will forever be a mystery.  Susan is played by Adarainne - one name only like Cher.  Adarainne was in four other low budget films in 1969 then dropped off the face of the earth.

Larry smooches a bit with his ladyfriend then leaves.  The Jackal-Man then enters and finishes what Larry started.  The scene has utterly no point except to underline the fact that this movie is shit.

But just when you've given up hope, we meet up with Ann again...


Ann and her dreamboat are at a drive in movie.  Mike complains of a stomach ache and says he's going to hit the snack bar and get a Coke to sooth his bowels.  What a smooth operator. The surest way to louse up a date is to tell your girl you're hitting the head to drop a massive load

Mike grabs a few things at the snack bar, but predictably transforms into the Jackal-Man in the most unimpressive manner possible.  If you're picturing An American Werewolf in London style transformations, then you haven't been paying attention.


I will say this for Dracula: The Dirty Old Man, it could've been a good horror comic.  I don't mean the quality EC comics type (i.e. Tales from the Crypt), but the tawdry Eerie and Skywald variety.  Not familiar?  It just so happens I've done a few posts on them - here and here.


So the Jackal-Man brings an unconscious Ann back to Alucard's lair.  But there's a problem - Alucard wants Ann for himself and The Jackal-Man wants none of that -  he's sick of bringing him all the ladies.  This time this one's his.


When Alucard does his little schlemiel schlemazel which rids Ann of her clothes, The Jackal-Man's loins are even further rustled.  This has all the potential to be an epic battle between two monster icons (okay, may a Jackal Man isn't an icon, but he's a close relative of the Wolf Man - so let's not get technical).


Alien v. Predator,  Freddy v. Jason, Ali v. Frazier, Kool Moe Dee v. LL Cool J.... these have nothing on the titanic battle between two horror legends - Dracula and The Wolf Man.... okay, Alucard and The Jackal-Man, but close enough.

Unfortunately, this "titanic battle" turns out to be more along the lines of a "discussion".  Yep.  The two end up just sitting down and mumbling..... I'd have been disappointed if I'd have expected anything more from this movie.


Amid their petty bickering, Ann manages to escape.  She's completely naked except for a pair of high heels.  The next several minutes are nothing but Naked Ann running awkwardly through the caverns in heels.

It's at this point that I begin to realize that it's not necessarily Shirley Booth I'm reminded of for the dubbed female voices - it's George Costanza's mother on Seinfeld!


I should also point out that the organ/guitar diddling that's going on in the background morphs into the Batman theme during the chase scene.  Perhaps, it's just so obscure and poorly played that it was never noticed by the Adam West/'Burt Ward legal department.



The battle rages on..... well, "rage" is a strong word, and so is "battle".  How about  - the clumsy argument continues blandly? Finally, the movie has finally reached its climax ("climax" is probably too strong a word as well).  Anyway, Alucard manages to hit the Jackal-Man in the head with a rock, but slips into daylight while doing so.

Alucard dies (or does he?) and the Jackal-Man returns to being the same sweaty Wayne Newton as he was at the beginning of the film.  Granted, there's not a lot of difference between the two, but at least he's not quite as rapey as he was before.


Ann wakes up and puts on the dress of one of the Alucard's victims (the one before Adarainne).  No sooner is she clothed, after being naked for literally the final quarter of the film, the ever horny Mike requests she disrobe and have sex.

I guess the director felt that having Ann clothed for 2 seconds was 2 seconds too long, so she's back out of her clothing.  Quite amazingly, after all they've just been through that they felt it was time to make sweet sweet love, but this was 1969 - so we shouldn't be too shocked.


And so, dear reader, this is where it ends.  With Mike's fat, sweaty body co-mingling with an always naked Ann, rolling in the dirty cave floor. Game of Thrones fans will no doubt be reminded of the sex scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte who consummate their relationship in a cave.  Jon Snow is dark haired, Ygritte is red headed.

"You know nothing, Retrospace." Okay, I'm kidding.  But, I couldn't have asked for the film to end any other way: gross, perverted, and amusing in its badness.

THE END


8 comments:

  1. I give this film an A based on leg-worthiness alone... but it seems the foul demonoid spirit of Miss Grundy has censored your pix as an eldritch Halloween prank.

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  2. I always thought Jackie Mason was the voice of the Aardvark in Ant and the Aardvark.

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  3. Yeah, this is a pretty bad film, but it's no "The Horrible Sexy Vampire" (1970), which was done as a straight-up vampire film. It's kind of horrible and the vampire isn't at all sexy, probably because he's invisible for all but 3 minutes of the film. The only sexy part of the film are the scenes of gratuitous female nudity. The vampire isn't only invisible, but he chokes people to death, both blatantly obvious cost-cutting moves. You should review that movie sometime, Gilligan.

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  4. Curse you, Gilligan! I'll never get caught up on my movie watching.

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  5. OK. I just watched the entire movie on YouTube. It's apparent that some (maybe Whit Boyd whose name appears before the title in the opening credits) purchased a movie made by William Edwards and decided to strip out almost all of the sound track and replace it with "funny" riffs by some unknown comedians. This was probably inspired by "What's Up, Tiger Lily?" which had been made three years earlier. Inexplicably, a couple scenes, including the scene with Carol and Larry, retain the original sound track. When you view the movie with the assumption that the dubbers are trying to be funny, it loses any charm it might have had. There is also a surprising amount of female FFN (full frontal nudity) for a movie released in 1969.

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  6. Cory PasqualettoOctober 30, 2013

    Normally I don't post comments here but after watching this film I felt compelled to....

    OMG....This stinks worse than a house made of chicken shit on fire....HOLY BAD THESPIANS BATMAN!!!
    All copies of this movie need to be collected and burned...except for the bits of T&A it is pure corn crap

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  7. I love the comic book cover! No more Mr. Nice Guy!

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