[Tearing Through Werewolf Cinema] 'Dracula the Dirty Old Man' is a Film that Gives Itself the MST3K Treatment
Welcome to a weekly series in which Doris V. Sutherland takes readers on a trip through the history of werewolf cinema...
...Dracula the Dirty Old Man (1969) begins with Vince Kelley as Alucard (“Dracula spelled backwards” as the opening credits point out) waking from his slumber in sixties America. He goes looking for new victims and finds no shortage of nubile young women—so many, in fact, he decides that a little assistance would be beneficial. And so, when Mike Waters (Billy Whitton) stumbles upon Dracula’s lair, the Count turns him into a lycanthropic “jackalman”. Waters accepts this task—but can he avoid the temptation to keep the victims for himself?
This film was written, directed, and produced by William Edwards, who also wrote The Mummy and the Curse of the Jackals from the same year, and exists largely as an excuse to get more mileage out of that film’s jackalman costume. But while the other film was a straightforward monster movie, Dracula the Dirty Old Man is an entry in the field of werewolf porno, a genre combination which—for better or worse—was staked out in 1962 by The House on Bare Mountain. How do the two compare? Well, if you’re looking specifically for a werewolf porno (and let’s face it, most people will have done so at some point in their lives) then Dracula the Dirty Old Man is clearly the superior choice: it actually uses its werewolf as a central character, rather than an oddball running gag as in Bare Mountain. In just about every other respect, however, this film turns out to be even worse than its predecessor.
The film is gruelingly repetitive. Nobody watches porn expecting the sparkle of innovation, granted, but Dracula the Dirty Old Man seems intent on subjecting its female characters to near-identical indignities: almost every woman is abducted by the werewolf, strung up by her arms in the same way as the other victims, and then left to the mercies of Dracula’s rather limited fondling repartee. The only change of pace comes when the werewolf starts getting his rocks off with the women himself.
There is, however, one thing that lends Dracula the Dirty Old Man a modicum of curiosity value. Not only is the entire film dubbed, but most of the dialogue appears to have been ad-libbed by the voiceover actors as they watched the footage. This becomes clear when we hear a narrator speak over establishing shots of blue-hued hills:
As I looked out into the beautiful hills beyond the beautiful hills beyond the beautiful hills, I saw a panorama of beautiful hills. However, as beautiful as it may seem, death lurked behind those beautiful hills behind the beautiful hills behind the beautiful hills. It was a day just like any other day, which doesn’t say much, and then all of a sudden, the sky turned and I saw a blue mountain back behind a blue mountain, back behind another blue mountain. And then I knew that I was in the land of… blue mountains.
After this, when Dracula rises from his coffin, his vaguely Yiddish voiceover yawns loudly, mumbles about hiring an interior decorator and wonders where the men’s room is. Similar gags are scattered over the course of the film: “These shorts are too tight; they make me walk funny” grumbles the werewolf as he shambles out of the scene.
At the time the film was released, one comparison point to pop into the heads of audience members might have been—of all things—the early black and white Popeye cartoons, where the voice actors ad-libbed over the finished animation. Watched today, the most obvious comparison is with Mystery Science Theater 3000. This is a film that gives itself the MST3K treatment.
Doubtless this will be good news to filmgoers who prefer their werewolf rape porn to have a touch of self-conscious irony, but the rest of humanity will find better ways of spending an hour.
By Doris V. Sutherland