From the Archive – Zoltan: Hound of Dracula (1978)

Zoltan

Aka Dracula’s Dog; I shit ye not, my friends.

“There’s more to the legend than meets…the throat!”

Directed by Albert Band
Starring Michael Pataki

When Russian soldiers accidentally rouse Dracula’s seneschal, and his angry pooch, Zoltan the vampire dog, set out for the USA, to track down the Count’s last living descendent, whose blood is needed for his resurrection. A police officer from Romania also travels to America, in order to warn the unsuspecting Michael Drake (Pataki) of his peril. Drake is on a caravanning holiday with his wife, children and two Alsatians.

What follows, is 90 minutes of abject boredom, as Zoltan – a big, mean-looking Doberman – bites one dog after another, creating a veritable army of rather unconvincing vampire dogs. Finally, all are destroyed except the mewling vampire puppy, which crawls about over the end credits like he thinks he’s getting a sequel.

What’s wrong with it?

Fundamentally: Nothing happens. I think one person may be bitten in the whole film. The rest is a series of shots of the Drake family searching for their missing pets, and Zoltan giving other dogs hickeys.

Feh.

What’s right with it?

Not a damn thing.

How bad is it really?

Zoltan belongs to a class of seventies horror movie that set new heights in terror: The modern day fashion horror. In these films, there were always lots of horrible trousers, and nothing much happened beyond someone getting killed or laid every fifteen minutes. Unless you count the dogs, there isn’t even that much happening in Zoltan, but there are plenty of terrifying fashion mistakes.

Zoltan is a staggeringly bad piece of film-making, that fails even to raise the unintentional chuckles of Lust for a Vampire.

Best bit?

Don’t make me hurt you.

What’s up with…?

  • This bastard, piece of shit film? I mean seriously? It looks like the crew have gone out into the wilderness and improvised the whole thing with a bunch of really piss-poor actors – who have no idea how to do improv – filmed exactly the length of film they needed, and shown it as is.
  • The vampire dogs?
  • The vampire puppy at the end? This is scary now?
  • Zoltan giving the pooches the Christopher Lee ‘mesmo-stare’ before he bites them? He frankly lacks Lee’s charisma, and is besides, a frikking dog.

Ratings

Production values – Well, the vampire dogs are occasionally spray-painted grey, and have glowing eyes. There’s also a little red-paint blood, but not much. 16

Dialogue and performances – Difficult to say, given that most of the characters are dogs, but pretty awful. Even the dogs don’t really convince, and their motivation is basically: “You’re a dog”. 17

Plot and execution – Big yawn. Sort of ‘dog bites dog; and then another dog’. No tension, no scares, no horror; no interest. 20

Randomness – Not much, aside from the dog. The film really doesn’t have enough ideas to even aspire to randomness. 8

Waste of potential – There might be some mileage somewhere in Dracula’s attack dog, but one can’t hold out too much hope. Nonetheless, there must have been a better film in it than this pile of pants. 12

Overall 73%

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