The Devil's Nightmare

Color, 1969, 64 mins. 43 secs. / 68 mins. 54 secs.
Directed by William Edwards
Starring Vince Kelly, Ann Hollis, Billy Whitton, Libby Calculus, Joan Pickett
AGFA / Something Weird (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), Image Entertainment (DVD) (US R1 NTSC), Modern Harmonic (DVD) (US R0 NTSC)

The advent of monster nudie Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)films ushered in by the likes of Kiss Me Quick!, Orgy of the Dead, and The Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)House on Bare Mountain led to some very strange films over the years, but nothing on Earth (or likely the entire galaxy) is quite like Dracula (The Dirty Old Man). Shot piecemeal in Los Angeles and Texas, this baffling affront to human logic was unleashed on the softcore market by naughty movie impresario Whit Boyd at the end of a run that also included titles like Hot Blooded Woman, Hip, Hot and 21, and Eat, Drink and Make Merrie. Monster reference books loved dropping the title of this one at random along with other wild ones like The Horrible Sexy Vampire and Dracula Sucks, though actually seeing this sucker was tricky until Something Weird dug up a print for multiple editions starting with a VHS. Anyone who's ever since the film since has never quite gotten over it.

Inside a deserted mine within the "land of beautiful blue hills" known as Nelson's Landing, "Alucard (Dracula Spelled Backwards)" (Kelly) awakes from his slumber to deliver an endless internal comedy monologue to himself. A goateed and raven-coiffed creature of the night and avid peeping tom, Alucard has destiny that's about to cross with a turtleneck-wearing real estate agent named Mike (Whitton) whose latest girlfriend, Ann, becomes a target of the vampire's nocturnal habits. Mike gets summoned for an all-day road trip to visit the mine since Alucard intends to reopen it, but of course that turns out to be ruse. Alucard orders the new arrival to go out and fetch fresh women for him every night, and in the process he somehow hypnotizes Mike into becoming "Irving Jackalman," a furry were-jackal who has no problem doing his master's bidding and enjoying the fruits of his labors himself.

What sets this film apart is its notorious soundtrack, which marries swingin' jazz music with a presumably improvised Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)comedy(?) dialogue track in which our monsters are given hokey Borscht Belt-style wisecracks. Even at just over an hour, it's ridiculously padded and has the Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)voice actors clearly goofing around and flubbing at times; by the time we get to Jackalman running around brutally savaging his co-stars while the jokes continue, we've truly entered another realm of consciousness. The nudity is plentiful and as anti-erotic as you can get, at least when it comes to the female cast members; in keeping with late '60s sexploitation standards, the guys somehow manage to have sex without disrupting their dress slacks.

Dracula (The Dirty Old Man) was first released on DVD by Image Entertainment and Something Weird in 2002 as a double feature with Guess What Happened to Count Dracula?, the most mainstream and traditional horror cut of a 1971 curio that was also reworked for the straight and all-male sexploitation markets. Clocking in at 68m54s, that presentation of Dracula is taken from a scratchy but okay print with bonus features including featurette versions of Dracula and the Dirty Old Witch (22m33s), a condensed version of the hardcore horror film The Bride's Initiation, and 1970's Sex and the Single Vampire (26m23s), with a bewigged John Holmes as Drac preying on some horny interlopers in his house. Also included on the DVD are bonus vampire-themed trailers (Blood Suckers, The Body Beneath, Caged Virgins, Daughters of Darkness, The Legend of Blood Castle, A Taste of Blood, The Vampire and the Ballerina, and The Vampire's Coffin / The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy), plus the usual exploitation gallery. That same disc was repackaged a few years later as part of the Something Weird Sexy Storybook Collection 2 along with The Secret Sex Lives of Romeo & Juliet, The Notorious Cleopatra, and the twofer of Tarz & Jane, & Cheeta & Boy and Tarzun and the Valley of Lust. Then somehow, incredibly, Modern Harmonic revived the film on DVD in 2020 as a bonus in its release of the soundtrack CD for Dracula (The Dirty Old Man) pulled from the uncovered session tapes. Yes, really.

In 2023, AGFA added the title to its stable of Something Weird collaborations with a special edition Blu-ray centered around a scan of the "only known 35mm print in existence." The older print has gone AWOL, but this one is actually a slightly different edit of the film clocking in four minutes shorter (largely due to element damage by the looks of it and missing the Boyd credit at the beginning) but actually has some footage that wasn't in the earlier DVD and VHS versions, too. Framing-wise it adds quite a bit on the sides while matting off Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)some extraneous vertical info, and obviously the scratches and other debris are different. The English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track is what it is, and you have to feel sorry for the person charged with creating Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)the English SDH subtitles for this thing given how much of the looped dialogue is unintelligible. It's fun to see them try valiantly though, interpreting Dracula's early greeting to Mike as "Oh, what a dick" and transcribing "Look at my thing" as "Look at my team." A very well-informed audio commentary by Vintage Texploitation's Dennis Campa with contributions by Melinda Belles is largely focused on Boyd (including his legal issues after this) but also covering the premiere in South Carolina, the narration by Ron Scott, possible connections to Bat Pussy, and points of interest about the locations.

Also included here is an entire bonus feature movie, and it's a doozy: 1965's Tales of a Salesman (63m53s), preserved from the only known 35mm Technicolor print in existence. Presented here framed at 1.85:1 and looking gorgeous compared to the old Something Weird VHS and streaming version, it's a wild, psychedelic supernatural nudie that's actually worth the price of the disc itself. A spectral "salesman's poltergeist" from the netherworld narrates this saga about Herman (David Reed), a Southern salesman urged by his off-screen wife to go out and get 'em on his first day on a new job. Enter the helpful poltergeist who starts guiding him around potential brush customers, all women with an aversion to clothing. A very entertaining and surreal sex comedy, this one takes a crazed left turn in the last 20 minutes when our protagonist gets dumped in a fog-filled limbo where he encounters a Jigoku-style underworld of vampire fangs, monster vacuums, an imposing judge, balloons, and lots of women doing burlesque routines. The source print has some obvious scratches, but the colors looks stunning and the film overall will be a real surprise for anyone who passed it over before due to the bland title. This was the sole directorial effort for Don Russell, who worked as an AD on several '60s Ray Dennis Steckler films, and it's a shame he never felt compelled to do this again. Finally the disc wraps up with a reel of "trailers from Dracula’s dirty old cave" (12m4s) including Night of the Witches / Dr. Frankenstein on Campus, Witchcraft, The Vampire and the Ballerina, and Terror at Orgy Castle.


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Reviewed on May 11, 2023