SON OF DRACULA
Son of Dracula was an effort put together by former Beatle Ringo Starr who floated much of the money to make the film and took a producer role, as well as played the part of Merlin the Magician under a fake beard and pointy hat. Starr cast his good friend Harry Nilsson in the lead role. Nilsson was a popular musician/singer who gained much exposure after being praised by The Beatles and became good friends with them. Nilsson sings seven songs throughout the film, some of which feature appearances from Ringo Starr (a soundtrack was also released). The Starr-Nilsson collaboration had resulted in the earlier animated film The Point (1971). Nilsson never made any other acting appearances but did write the screenplay for the Whoopi Goldberg turkey The Telephone (1987).
Son of Dracula no relation to Son of Dracula (1943) with Lon Chaney Jr, the third film in Universals Dracula series is a complete oddity. It feels less like a film and more like a couple of singers and their friends come together to have a good time. Even though there are a number of regular actors present and Freddie Francis has assembled a crew that he has worked with before, including regular screenwriter/actress Jennifer Jayne (operating under the Jay Fairbank pseudonym), the film still feels like it only has a vague idea about what is wanted to be. It sort of falls into the fad for monster comedies that were being made around the time that began with Young Frankenstein (1974) even though Son of Dracula predates Young Frankenstein by several months. There was a brief attempt to retitle the film as Young Dracula to take advantage of this but it failed to sell. (You suspect if Son of Dracula had been made after Young Frankenstein, it might have had more of clue what is wanted to do). The film flopped badly and was little seen anywhere. It has even failed to be resurrected on dvd/video as a curiosity by those who search out such material.
Son of Dracula is dull. Most of it consists of Harry Nilsson wandering around without ever doing much. Occasionally he sings a song. Towards the end, there is some skulduggery as Baron Frankenstein (Freddie Jones) tries to thwart Nilssons plans to shuck off his destiny at the coming astrological conjunction and become a mortal for the sake of love. These complications only come in near the end and the rest of the film fails to ever materialise into a plot. Wandering about contemporary London in a cape with curly red hair and bushy beard, Harry Nilsson manages to look about as far removed as it is possible to get from the darkly magnetic Draculas incarnated by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee (whom Freddie Francis had earlier directed in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Hammers fourth Dracula film). He gives a mildly brooding performance but it is far too mellow for anything we expect from a character bearing the Dracula lineage. Certainly, Nilsson does better in the opportunities when he gets to sing with the Remember Christmas number in the middle of the film being a particular standout.
Freddie Franciss other genre films are:- Vengeance/The Brain (1962), Paranoiac (1962), Nightmare (1963), Dr Terrors House of Horrors (1964), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965), The Skull (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Deadly Bees (1967), They Came from Beyond Space (1967), Torture Garden (1967), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1969), Trog (1970), The Vampire Happening (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Tales That Witness Madness (1972), Craze (1973), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Legend of the Werewolf (1974), The Ghoul (1975), The Doctor and the Devils (1985) and Dark Tower (1987).
Full film available online here:-