“We must have WIRGINS!”
The famed Count Dracula is the last in his line, even his beloved sister is on the brink of “death”, because of a lack of fresh “wirginal” blood. In this interpretation of the vampire myth, it seems the only essential ingredient for life is the blood of a virgin once in a while. Unfortunately for the Dracula clan, their reputation proceeds them in their home Romania and they no longer have a supply of supple virginal flesh at their disposal. In a desperate attempt to extend his life, he and a secretary ship off to Italy because the strong Catholic presence and the supposed presence of virgins. Oh, I forgot to mention, in the oft chance that Dracula feats on the blood of a non-virgin, he gets violently ill, vomiting up the blood he just consumed with a lot of spasms.
I’m not sure what to make of this film, it’s puzzling and even upsetting… yet, oh so very funny. Casting aside a comedy or two, it’s been a while since I’ve laughed so hard at a film. Dracula’s secretary especially elicits many laughs. His exaggerated acting style is wonderful, he does this amazing thing with his eyes. So focused and so hilarious… so close to being a parody, and well, I think it is. Of what, I’m not entirely sure. I can’t forget his pronunciation of virgins “wirgins”, which makes bizarro sense considering where he is from, but he repeats it so often and the fact that not a single person is either confused or amused by this makes it all the more funny. I almost expected a Mel Brooks sketch to break out as someone questions what exactly a “wirgin” is. I think the dozenth time he said it, I was laughing so much I missed a good five minutes. It was just…a magical moment of hilarity.
If you haven’t gathered, the film has a lot to do with sex. As a result, there is a huge amount of gratuitous sex and nudity. Some of it is necessary, but mostly… not. There is naked gardening, lesbian sibling incest, lots of peasant on aristocrat sex, some rape, quite a bit of sucking… ummm… I think that covers most of it. The film’s political ideology is tied directly to the sex, and the virile alpha male is a peasant socialist, while the dying, sexuality backwards and perverse, Dracula is the symbol of a dying aristocracy. It’s almost painfully simple, but it’s complicated by the relegation of women. Though I think much of what I’ve mentioned so far is very deliberate, the comedy and the sex, whatever… I have no doubt every aspect of this was calculated, I’m not sure about it’s take on gender issues. Sure two of the daughters are “modern” women, unconcerned with preserving their purity. They love sex, and want it… they’re unashamed. However, their relationship with Mario, is anything but healthy. He has full, and brutal control over both of them, even raping the older one who has confused her lust and his power over her with love. Maybe I’m underestimating Morrissey’s writing, because this certainly complicates the political ideology. Both men use women, and manipulate them for their own uses. The film’s second rape is especially blatant in this, and it’s actually a fairly upsetting scene. The film though, seems to hold no emotional or psychological consequence, which makes it confusing and almost troubling. I’m not sure what to think really.
The film end with what I could only describe as a Monty Pythonesque finale. Despite my problems, I still really enjoyed it. Something about films that confuse and perplex me, and make me laugh intrigue me. It’s like a person I want to know more about because they are like an enigma that you want to figure out. Yea, I don’t know what I’m rambling about anymore. Oh yea, forgot to mention, Roman Polanski makes a cameo appearance.