OOM #23 – Love at First Bite (1979)

Today is a busy day. I must say that I didn’t expect it to be, but for some reason I’m loaded with work, which is a good thing, but at the same time the work is so urgent and so unexpected that I can’t hope but for the end of October, which will carry more good than bad in terms of job and actually doing stuff. Signing contracts, signing people, oh boy, it’s hard out there for a boy alone doing the work of three or four people. Anyway, enough about the horror of everyday life, today we are all about relaxing in our little horror cove of horrifying creatures and sudden apparitions of evil doers.

James Rolfe didn’t actually talk about a movie that I’ve already seen, in fact he talks about a movie that I’ve been kinda wanting to see, ‘Bride of Chucky’ (1998), a movie that apparently combines horror and comedy in a perfect manner. But, there is a big problem for me going out and putting a DVD or finding it some way and seeing the darn film, it’s the fact that I’ve only seen ‘Child’s Play’ (1988) and I haven’t seen ‘Child’s Play 2’ (1990) nor ‘Child’s Play 3’ (1991), which are sequels and continuation of the franchise, that leads up to the 1998 film. While some may think that it’s actually not that necessary to see them all beforehand, I am a completist and I can’t help but feel bad when I see something out of order, I’ll never ever do that. I could marathon them, and I’ve done it before, but it’s three films in a day that I’m expecting to see three more because of work, as well as writing scripts and all, so today, at this age, I can’t do it, sorry.

So instead of going through my anxiety issues, and I’m sure I’ll have another chance to experience the Chucky franchise, I decided to just continue with my list of movies where we left off, in 1979. There’s just one movie left from that year in the horror genre that I needed to see, and it’s this horror comedy, how fitting, considering the opportunity that we missed today with the animated doll of death. So, without much else to say, let’s view and review ‘Love at First Bite’ (1979). Ha ha ha.

Well, there is surely a world out there for people who like their silly comedies featuring Dracula and his antics in the modern world. I mean, there’s a lot of those out there, because it seems that anyone who watches ‘Dracula’ (1931) or any other version made thinks that it’s a funny character that deserves some kind of parody! So, here we have one of them, of the bunch that they’ve made, and I’m not going to say that it’s the best one (because there are a couple out there that I prefer) but it seems to be the one that plays it straight, like a real comedy, with real characters, no silly stuff involved, just the same characters of the movie and book put in a new place and new time period. Is there a concept for comedy there? Sure, does it always work? No, not always. Does it make you laugh? A few times. Is it recommended? Eh… keep reading.

The movie starts strong, with lame and good jokes around that still, all and all, make you laugh and smile at the fact that you’re watching a film featuring Dracula that is supposed to be funny. The first joke is that after hearing the howls and barking of the wolves, Dracula is reading and shouts out “Children of the Night– Shut up!”. It’s cheesy, it’s tongue-in-cheek, but God, if it doesn’t makes me smile what else would in a month like this? The film has some other references to those keen enough to dig around the mythos and the films that have featured Dracula in the past, specially those related to the Bela Lugosi version of the creature, whose performance is mostly parodied in this movie. Even Renfield makes an appearance as the ever faithful servant of the Count, serving and helping his master up in his castle in Transylvania, but the peace that they have both achieved is disrupted by a recent communist outbreak in the country (hey, it was 1979) so the upper class vampire needs to move out as his castle is going to be used for more people-centric issues. The whole bit is hysterical in its stereotypical portrayal of the government officials.

But that’s when the movie kinda turns strange on me. Dracula goes out searching for a woman who is a photographic model, very beautiful, and who apparently he knows because of past incarnations throughout history. The film is strange because while the search of the woman itself takes about 20 minutes of its 100 minute runtime, the first approach from the Count to this woman is so direct, yet so successful that I was left aghast. What would the rest 70 minutes of the film will be about? It is after the first time he sucks her blood that we are introduced to the version of Van Helsing in this universe, a psychiatrist who has changed his surname to protect himself from his grandfather’s fame. And the whole thing just continues to go smoothly, with some jokes here and there and some kind of countdown (Dracula has to bit her three times before turning her into a full vampire) but she seems already in love with him! That’s my problem with this film, in the end the conflict seems to be between the Vampire and Van Helsing, a Van Helsing that is continuously thrown to jail or into a mental hospital for saying stuff about vampires in public, a Van Helsing that no one believes in, one that is pathetic and his main drive is also getting the romantic attention of the girl. Also, his performance is weird and unfunny at times, maybe as if he was really a psycho.

The film can be watchable, and it’s not a chore to sit through, but the ending is kinda cheesy and almost as if Dracula learned a lesson when there’s nothing to teach him what he’s preaching in the end. A cute movie, silly one, but certainly not a great one.

7/10

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