Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Horror Warhol Style

I wanted to share a bit about two of my favorite horror genre films, "Flesh for Frankenstein" (1973) and "Blood for Dracula" (1974).  The films were originally released as "Andy Warhol's Frankenstein" and "Andy Warhol's Dracula" but the titles were changed for the US dvd released.  Both films were directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Andy Warhol, and the screenwriter is Tonino Guerra whom is well known for "Blowup".  The two films were shot in Italy within a few weeks of each other with a mostly Italian cast, which also included Udo Kier and Warhol's  muse Joe Dallesandro, as well as a cameo by Roman Polanski.  I stumbled across these films several years ago OnDemand, and subsequently became completely smitten and obsessed.

I will offer you a brief one sentence synopsis without spoilers of the two films.  Flesh for Frankenstein involves the mad Baron von Frankenstein's quest to create a perfect Serbian race by creating an "Adam" and "Eve" with various involuntary human donors, which he then intends for them to breed.  Blood for Dracula is about a dying Dracula leaving his castle in Transylvania on a quest for virgin blood to save his life, under the guise that he is seeking a virgin bride.   These films have it all: humor, gore, and unconventional eroticism only Warhol could make you appreciate that involves promiscuity, adultery, incest, and necrophilia.  Some of the comedic elements that may or may not be intentional is Joe Dallesandro's unmistakably Brooklyn accent in a 19th century Serbia setting.  The other being Udo Kier's Dracula's pronunciation of virgin as wirgin.  The gore scenes are also "so bad they're good" with the Frankenstien scenes shot for 3D, including a hilarious scene of a live victim's head being harvested for the Baron's creation with an oversized pair of scissors. The two films also contain what I believe to be the two greatest horror film lines of all time, respectively,   

"To know life Otto, you must fuck death in the gall bladder" 

My other favorite thing about the films is the beautiful soundtracks composed by Claudio Gizzi.  I happened upon a rare import release of the Flesh for Frankenstein soundtrack on vinyl for a mere thirty dollars or so, and am still desperately searching for the rarer Blood for Dracula vinyl import.  (There is currently one listed on ebay for $200- ouch.)  One of my favorite pieces is the intro on Blood for Dracula, titled "Old Age of Dracula", which I actually walked down the aisle to in my wedding!  Because I was unable to obtain the soundtrack, I had my husband lift it off an upload of the opening sequence from Youtube, and perform his studio magic to clean up the track.  I love the cinematography of the opening sequence as well (below).  There is something very Bowie-esque to me of Udo Kier as Dracula applying his makeup before his nonexistent mirror reflection.

Also as someone who hates the Twilight series, as I believe abstinence and glitter have no place in vampirism, I can't help but appreciate this video short (below) made with clips from "Blood for Dracula" titled "Dracula hates Twilight."

I hope I have managed to have peaked your interest, so that you may add these two films to you Halloween que this season!

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