Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) Poster

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Excellent "Modern Day" Vampire Tale
Brandt Sponseller22 January 2005
The film begins by showing us a coffin being removed from a ship, then trucked out to an estate in modern day (circa 1970) Los Angeles. On top of this, we hear narration telling us a bit about vampire legends. Soon after, we meet Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), as he conducts a séance to try to contact Donna's (Donna Anders) deceased mother. The séance turns slightly chaotic, and Donna's friends begin to suspect that there's something odd about the Count, especially when they learn that he had been dating Donna's mother, requested that she not be cremated, as her earlier wishes had it, but didn't turn up at the funeral. The film consists of Donna's friends trying to learn more about, and subsequently finding themselves further and further into trouble with, Count Yorga. It is no mystery, due to the title of the film, that he is a vampire.

Although Count Yorga, Vampire is a bit talky in the beginning, the dialogue is good, and it gets even better as the film progresses. For viewers eager for more action than dialogue, they do not have to wait long. By the end of the séance scene, which comes maybe 10 minutes into the film, they should be interested, and by the end of the van scene, maybe 15 minutes in, they should be satisfied. The rest of the film is a very effective mixture of action and clever, dialogue-heavy scenes.

Count Yorga, Vampire is one of the earlier attempts to place a Dracula-like figure in a modern setting. We certainly couldn't say that the film has no flaws, but for many viewers, including me, there are qualities to this film that enable it to rise above the flaws, and it ends up as a 10 out of 10 for me.

One of the most effective elements of the film is the extensive hand-held camera work, which in combination with early 1970s film stocks and processing techniques gives Count Yorga, Vampire an atmosphere akin to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The difference is that the focus here is a suave, debonair vampire living in a beautiful mansion, surrounded by beautiful vampire-women.

For my money, Quarry is as good a "Dracula" as anyone who has played the role, including Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. There is also a Renfield-like character here in Brudah (Edward Walsh). Although I love Dwight Frye (Renfield in the 1931 Dracula) as much as anyone else, Brudah may be the creepiest henchman in any vampire film.

Writer/director Bob Kelljan seemed to be aware that there was a campy element to the film, and it is acknowledged, but it remains very understated. For most of the film, Kelljan is going for creepiness and shocks, and he gets them.

A 10 out of 10 from me.
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Vampire Magic
BaronBl00d7 July 1999
When we think of great vampire portrayals, normally the names of Lugosi and Christopher Lee immediately pop into our heads. Robert Quarry, however, is as convincing a vampire as both of those great actors. His performance and demeanor as a Bulgarian Count in this film is truly outstanding. He lives in a large house somewhere in California and terrorizes young women and their boyfriends. What makes this picture a better than average vampire film is that it has a very tense and atmospheric plot structure. We basically know what fate will befall our innocent(just) protagonists, but we become riveted to their actions and those of the Count. Quarry plays the Count with a charm that is both amiable and yet caustic. He makes one of the wittiest vampires in film. The rest of the cast is adequate, and I think Roger Perry does a wonderful job as a blood specialist who goads Count Yorga one evening into talking about the supernatural. A must see for the classic horror fan.
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Very innovative for its time
Mark R. Leeper7 May 2001
At the time this film was made, vampires were almost always slow and hypnotic. This was really the first vampire film that treated them as swift and animalistic. That made this film surprisingly effective. It was even more surprising since it was originally supposed to be a pornographic vampire film called THE LOVES OF COUNT IORGA. It is flawed, but I still think it is the most effective vampire film I have ever seen. And I have seen quite a few.
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Pretty good
preppy-310 June 2007
Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), a vampire, comes from Bulgaria to 1970 Los Angeles and starts making a coven of beautiful female vampires. Will their boyfriends be able to stop him?

This was a huge hit in 1970 because it was the first modern vampire film. Up until then all vampire films had been set in Europe in the 1800s or early 1900s. This was the first vampire film set in modern day. Still it isn't a great film. It was originally shot with soft core sex scenes which were (pretty obviously) edited out and it was turned into a sleazy PG rated film. It was made on a very low budget (it shows) and suffers from some horrible 1970s fashions and dialogue. Also the makeup on the female vampires is pretty poor. Still this isn't a total disaster either.

The script is actually pretty intelligent considering this was a fairly rushed production. The acting is good--especially by Quarry who makes an imposing vampire. Very subtle performance but he handles the violent scenes quite well too. It moves at a fairly quick pace and has a great bloody climax--pretty extreme for a PG film. This won't impress audiences like it did in 1970 but it's still not that bad.

The 2000 video version I have has "Yorga" spelled as "Iorga".
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Another Terrific Vampire Flick from the Sexy 70's
augiedog28 January 2000
Once again, as in Vampire Lovers, the traditionally based vampire legend comes back from the grave containing the permissive sexual standards of the times. The end result is Count Yorga, Vampire, a wonderfully fast-moving, edge of your seat scare ride that keeps you taunt until the shocking end. We first meet Count Yorga at a seance he holds for a group of friends, one of which has just lost her mother. During the seance, Count Yorga builds a strong bond between Donna, the grieving daughter, and himself. Everyone at the seance agrees that the Count is refined, well-mannered, and eloquent. We soon find out that Count Yorga is one of the most blood-thirsty and ruthless vampires we've seen on screen in years. He eliminates each of the friends one by one until it's up to two remaining friends to become reluctant vampire hunters to save Donna from an existence of living death. Count Yorga Vampire was made on a very small budget. However, nothing was spared as far as creativity and skill. Robert Quarry makes your blood run cold as the modern day Count Dracula, and Roger Perry is driven and pretty funny as Dr. Hayes, the modern day Dr. Van Helsing. This genuinely frightening movie contains scenes that you won't forget easily. There was a sequel called Return of Count Yorga, but after seeing this movie, you'll wish for a remake of this one instead of a pretty mediocre sequel.
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Great horror film.
HumanoidOfFlesh15 June 2003
Bob Kelljan's "Count Yorga,Vampire" is an effective horror film which has plenty of suspense and atmosphere.Robert Quarry("Madhouse")is simply outstanding as a deadly vampire Count Yorga and there are some sexy vampiresses.The film may be a little too tame for some people's tastes,but there is enough thrills to satisfy horror fans.Highly recommended.
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a cut above the vampire norm
dr_foreman2 February 2005
You have to know what you're in for when you sit down to watch a movie like "Count Yorga." Leave your expectations of lavish special effects, intricate plotting, and deep character development at the door. This movie is about what most vampire movies are about – cool confrontations with the undead, spiced with some lightweight eroticism. If that's your bag, you should like this.

But I'm already sounding too critical. I honestly think that "Yorga" has several strong points which elevate it above the standard bloodsucker flick. Chief among them is actor Robert Quarry, who cuts a striking figure as the Count. His performance walks a very fine line between camp and credibility, and somehow he pulls it off. He plays the best kind of vampire – suave and smart and friendly, until of course he decides to dispatch his opponents with almost animal savagery.

There are some memorably horrifying moments, including the infamous cat scene and Roger Perry's final confrontation with Yorga in the crypt. I also enjoy the séance - a funny way to set the scene and introduce the characters (such as they are). On the downside, Perry is a faintly annoying actor (I much prefer the secondary hero, Michael Murphy, who later played the thankless role of the mayor in "Batman Returns"), and there are some strange cuts in the action where sex scenes were apparently excised.

On the whole, though, I have little to complain about. It seems that vampires are always up to the same tricks – putting the bite on women and fighting off their vengeful boyfriends – but as long as the vampires are cool and the women are pretty, I'll tune in.
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Lesson To Be Learned
ferbs5415 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Lesson to be learned: If your girlfriend or fiancée happens to develop sudden listlessness after attending a seance conducted by a smooth-talking count from Bulgaria, or perhaps develops a yen for consuming dead house cats, you may want to heed the advice of your doctor friend when he tells you that the count in question may be nothing less than...a vampire! Anyway, that's the setup in Bob Kelljan's surprisingly shocking, intelligent and believable horror film from 1970, "Count Yorga, Vampire." Several ingredients really help to lift this modern-day tale above the raft of similar competitors. It is extremely well acted by every cast member; Robert Quarry makes for an exceptionally sinister neck nosher indeed, and he is well matched by Roger Perry as Dr. Hayes. The film contains some truly startling moments (such as the count's toothy grimace as seen through a van's window), restrained but effective use of gore, a deliciously downbeat ending, and even a nice little shocker as a final capper. Perhaps best of all is the wholly credible reaction of the guys (Michael Murphy and Michael Macready, the latter also serving as producer, and whose father, hissable character actor George Macready, provides the wonderfully dreary intro narration to the film) to the horror that has entered their lives. First they are dismissive, then skeptical, and finally stunned and frightened when faced with the realization of what they must do to rescue their women. As I said, an entirely realistic series of responses that really aids the viewer in buying in to the story. could I forget to mention the count's brides; possibly the scariest-looking, fastest-moving bunch you've ever seen! Yes, this little horror flick, despite an underlit fight scene with the count's lupine manservant Brudah, is a pretty perfect outing. And from what I hear, the 1971 sequel, "The Return of Count Yorga," is even better....
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Not bad at all--and it stacks up quite well compared to the Hammer Dracula films
MartinHafer17 May 2008
I was a bit surprised by this rather low budget 1970s incarnation of vampire films. That's because around this same time period, vampire films were getting a bit stale and silly--with too many Hammer Dracula films (the franchise was getting weaker due to so many sequels) as well as dumb films like OLD Dracula and the Blacula films (which weren't terrible, but they sure were silly). However, despite my fear that this would be another stale film, this one turned out to be better than average and well worth a look. While only a nut would compare this to the greatness of Dracula or NOSFERATU, it still is a decent example of the franchise.

Before talking about the plot, there was something odd I noticed and that was how sexy the film was and it looked, at times, like it was a soft-core porno movie. However, again and again when it looked like it was going that direction, the movie abruptly changed direction--sometimes as if scenes were edited out to make this a film for general viewing. I checked IMDb for this and was not at all surprised to find that this was indeed the case. For example, a lesbian sex scene seemed about to occur--then the scene just ended. In another case, a woman was wearing a very revealing nightgown and began a very torrid scene with Iorga (there were two spellings in the film) and this just ended as well. There was also a very gratuitous scene involving a couple making love in a van for absolutely no reason--but again, with creative editing you really didn't see anything! As a result, the film is still quite sexy--but also one you could probably still let your teens watch.

Iorga/Yorga lives in the Los Angeles area in a house that looks more like a castle than a house. Even in crazy L.A., this house was definitely out of place! The film begins with his having a séance with three couples and it's soon apparent that the Count has magical hypnotic powers. Soon, it also becomes rather obvious that the Count is a heterosexual vampire--with strong desires for the three women but only a desire to kill off the men.

Many elements are taken from Dracula--even including a Dr. Helsing-like character. Despite the familiarity, the decent acting and nice update of the old tale make this worth a look. Plus the performance by the guy playing the Count was pretty cool.
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Great early 70's Vampire flick
Joseph P. Ulibas5 October 2003
Count Yorga (1970) was one of my childhood favorites. Like most of the films that I saw when I was younger I watched it on a small black and white T.V. My dad was also a fan of this one as well. It was one of the first movies I saw on videotape. This movie is a culture clash flick. An old school vampire living in the early seventies. The Count comes to California and starts up a harem of sexy vampires. Their angry boyfriends decide to team up together to try and put an end to the Count's midnight snacks. Total 70's action her folks. Count Yorga is one who's not to be trifled with. So grab some garlic and a crucifix 'cause Count Yorga might be in your neighborhood. Robert Quarry is the man as Count Yorga, and what's up with the coffin movers? Time capsule material.

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