Forgotten Films: Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)

Hard to believe the producers of this film originally envisioned it as soft-core porn.

By Scott A. Cupp

This is the 139th my series of Forgotten, Obscure or Neglected Films

OK, Halloween is happening in a few days so it must be time for another horror film. And, like last week’s film, I decided to watch a film I had never seen before. From 1970, I chose Count Yorga, Vampire, a film which has a decent reputation and which generated a sequel The Return of Count Yorga the next year.

I’m not sure why I didn’t see this when it was released in May 1970. I was just out of high school, getting ready to head off to The University of Texas in three months. I was working my first job and trying to save money and my girlfriend at the time, the fabulous Christine, was not at all impressed with horror or vampire films. Once at school, I never had much money so my movie trips were infrequent. If they included a date, we went wherever she wanted to go, and horror films were generally not on the bill of fare.

So, to the film.

Donna (Donna Anders) is upset over the recent death of her mother (Marsha Jordan). She has contacted her mother’s most recent boyfriend, Count Yorga (Robert Quarry), a Hungarian mystic who is conducting a séance for Donna, Donna’s boyfriend Michael (Michael Macready, the film’s producer), Donna’s friend Erica (Judy Lang) and her boyfriend Paul (Michael Murphy) plus others. At the séance, Donna gets hysterical and Count Yorga uses hypnosis to calm her down. Unbeknownst to the others, he gives her a telepathic hypnotic suggestion that she will obey and come when he calls.

The original Yorga film inspired this sequel.

Erica and Paul give Yorga a ride to his castle in the L.A. suburbs, and after they drop him off, their VW Microbus gets stranded in a suspicious mud puddle. Stranded, the two lovers do what lovers in remote places in Microbuses with curtains in the early ’70s would do. In the erotic afterglow, Erica hears a noise and finds the ominous figure of Count Yorga peering in. Paul gets out to investigate and is knocked out. Erica enjoys the erotic nature of the vampire.

The next day, a listless Erica is taken by Paul to Dr. James Hayes (Roger Perry), a researcher in blood diseases. A transfusion is required and Hayes notices the two small puncture marks on Erica’s throat.

It’s a small jump to realize that Yorga must be a vampire. Michael and Paul visit Yorga and discuss many things, including vampires. The visit convinces Hayes that Yorga is indeed undead. When Erica vanishes, plans are made to attack the vampire. Little do they know that Yorga has three lovely brides, including Erica and Donna’s mother.

This was a fun film and I enjoyed watching it. Apparently, according to the film’s Wikipedia entry, it was initially supposed to be a soft-core film called The Loves of Count Iorga with lots of nudity and the like, but Robert Quarry would only do the role if it was played as a straight horror film. No nudity, though it could easily have been shot with it. This film carries a PG-13 rating while the sequel was rated R.

I found this in the Edward Hamilton catalog with the sequel for $3.99. The Hamilton catalog is filled with new and remainder books at various prices. I’ve been a customer for about 30 years and ordered many a fine volume from them. More recently, they’ve added audio and video to the books, making for a wonderful browsing experience.

Other websites have the films available at various prices. Find your copies wherever you choose. I will be watching the sequel sometime soon.

Happy Halloween and enjoy the candy!

Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.


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