SHOCK looks at the experimental film shot on the set of Jess Franco’s COUNT DRACULA, CUADECUC, VAMPIR.
In 1969, while Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco was shooting Harry Alan Towers’ production of EL CONDE DRACULA, starring Christopher Lee in one of his few non-Hammer “Dracula” pictures, avant-garde filmmaker Pere Portabella haunted the set, ostensibly making a behind-the-scenes documentary of Franco’s process.
The resulting picture was, in a way, just that. And yet, so much more.
CUADECUC, VAMPIR is Portabella’s expressionist, impressionist and possibly political (many have read the film as a primal cry against the notorious fascist General Franco) black and white art film that uses grainy, blown-out footage of Lee, Soledad Miranda, Maria Rohm and Jack Taylor, both in and out of character, moving about the handsome, Gothic sets and natural Catalan locations. The overwhelming aura is that of a dream; a fascinating, surreal sidebar to one of Franco’s most restrained and attractive films.
EL CONDE DRACULA (aka COUNT DRACULA) is now out for the first time on Blu-ray in a spectacular presentation from Severin Films. Outside of a sterling HD transfer (culled from the French print titled LES NUITS DES DRACULA), the disc comes armed with a wealth of features, including a lively, informative commentary by horror historian David Del Valle and actress/Towers muse Maria Rohm, interviews with Jack Taylor and co-star Fred Williams, an archival interview with Franco, an appreciation by SILENT HILL director Christophe Gans and more.
But the jewel of the back-end of the Blu-ray is the complete CUADECUC, VAMPIR itself.
To celebrate the release and to point some arrows at just how vital and bizarre a work Portabella’s picture is, Severin has kindly supplied us with 3 clips from the movie.
Have a look below. And be sure to pick up EL CONDE DRACULA from the Severin store.
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