COUNT DRACULAS GREAT LOVE
(El Gran Amor del Conde Dracula)
Count Dracula's Great Love has been intended as a copy of the Hammer Dracula films that began with Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958) starring Christopher Lee. These were at a peak of popularity from the point around 1968-72. This film does make some effort to tie its Dracula in with Bram Stoker, namedropping characters and locations from the book like the Seward Asylum and Borgo Pass, and is (as far as I am aware) the first film to merge Count Dracula with the historical Vlad the Impaler. Paul Naschy has an undeniable dashing handsomeness as Dracula. The problem with the film is that director Javier Aguirre builds no mystique up around the character Naschys Dracula is simply a man in a tuxedo and cape who bites necks, rarely a supernatural figure. The film does have the novelty of being the first time that Count Dracula is seen committing suicide, overcome with heartbreak and pushing the stake into his own heart at the end.
If anything, Count Dracula's Great Love resembles one of the softcore vampire films of Naschys countryman Jesus Franco that were being made around this period see Count Dracula (1970) with Christopher Lee and Vampyros Lesbos (1970). The unedited version of the film runs to 85 minutes (although is cut of thirteen minutes of the sex footage in some US prints) and is filled with copious nudity as Dracula seduces the various women. In this sense the long softcore erotica scenes, the elegant chateau location the film can easily be mistaken for a work by Franco (and has been), although what is lacking are Francos arty pretentions.
The main complaint one has is that the film seems to have no particular plot it is just scenes of people wandering around the sanatorium and lots of nudity. The story is never given the dramatic push it would in say a Hammer film, while director Javier Aguirre has a flat and prosaic approach (something endemic to almost all Naschy films). The other main problem is the title all four girls look identical and have no distinction as characters beyond that, meaning that they are often difficult to tell apart. All whip their tops off regularly, thus Draculas supposed great love with Haydee Politoff never amounts to anything more than just one in a series of interchangeable softcore tumblings that take place at regular intervals.
Director Javier Aguirre made several other genre films including:- the Space Mission comedy The Astronaut (1970); Paul Naschys The Hunchback of the Morgue (1972); the psycho-thriller The Killer is One of Thirteen (1973); and The Unusual Pregnancy of Martinez (1974), a comedy about a pregnant man. Most of Aguirres work is in documentaries, while during the 1970s he discovered himself in domestic Spanish comedies, musicals and later the sex film.
Full film available online here:-