Vampires and eroticism have gone together since… ever. It was only natural that a fairly big budgeted, big named, big everythinged version of Dracula would be given the XXX treatment eventually and in 1979 it came (heh) in the form of Dracula Sucks. Having a rather troubled history on home video, in softcore versions, differently structured hardcover versions and a cut titled Lust At First Bite (which is also included here), we now have it available to the masses as it was meant to be seen. And it’s 95 minutes of fangbanging, bright fake blood, and overacting from one of the best casts ever assembled for an adult picture.
Dracula Sucks knows what it is setting out to do in its opening seconds, splaying its neon sign of a title over the nude body of a woman being serviced by our titular Count. That’s also about as graphic as it really gets. As much as it is a porn flick, it’s also surprisingly a convicted piece of genre cinema. There’s no dollar going to waste on the production design here nor on the cast which includes the likes of Jamie Gillis, John Holmes, Serena, Seka, Annette Haven, John Leslie, Reggie Nalder, Kay Parker, Paul Thomas, Mike Ranger, and Bill Margold. Whew! And that all works both in its favor and not.
The major issue here is one of finding an audience. Dracula Sucks really doesn’t provide enough hardcore content to please the XXX crowd and it’s far too explicit for anyone just looking for a Dracula flick. It rides some sort of strange middle ground with the porn content littered sporadically throughout but never amounting to much overall screen time (likely the cause for so many easy to access softcore versions being available on video) and the horror/comedy elements holding their own against it. However, the cast does become an issue. Make no mistake, for an adult film this cast is fucking legendary. But at times it is hard to not wish that some of the more genre specific material (i.e when folks are clothed) was being delivered by more capable performers. As it is though, the cast does fine and seems to be having a great time in the process, especially Jamie Gillis as Dracula who rather obviously gets the most screen time.
At 95 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome and it really is a lot of fun regardless of what you’re looking for. If you’re able to overlook the porny parts to enjoy the surprisingly competent elements of the Dracula homage, you’ll find an oddity that certainly couldn’t be made today. If you’re coming solely for the porn, you’ll probably be having too much fun to realize how little of it there is. With over-sexed vampires all over TV and in other areas of popular culture now, it’s refreshing to go back 25 years and see how it should be done.
Vinegar Syndrome (who else?) are to thank for bringing this back to home screens in its complete form and it looks great. There’s minimal wear on the source print and the colors (especially those reds!) really pop. This is DVD only but it handles the content more than adequately. The audio is mono and is serviceable. I didn’t hear any overbearing hissing or popping and everything sounded balanced. Quality job here yet again from VS.
Extras include the aforementioned Lust at First Bite cut of the film, which is certainly worth a watch for comparisons sake but you’re unlikely to ever watch it again over the complete version. We also get a full commentary on Dracula Sucks by William Margold, co-writer/director of the film. It’s a solid, informative track that tends to get overly anecdotal but it’s a lot of fun. Margold is candid and enthusiastic about the film. Definitely worth a listen for fans. We also get a 20 minute feature titled “Return to Castle Ranch” which features Margold and director Philip Marshak’s son re-visiting the location that the film was shot in. Not much time is actually spent doing the revisiting, but the two talk rather candidly about the film and Marshak. It’s a great companion to the commentary and nicely rounds out the package.