Count Yorga, Vampire [1970]

The Dracula legend gets a suavely competent makeover in this 1970 bloodsucker, bringing vampirism to present-day Los Angeles with a harem of semi-clad females and the sharp casting of Robert Quarry in the title role. The film's original title (The Loves of Count Iorga, Vampire) is perhaps more fitting, since it's really about how Quarry--posing as a Bulgarian psychic medium--seduces his female clients into neck-bitten submission. The victims' abandoned boyfriends (including Michael Murphy, who costarred in M*A*S*H the same year) recruit a vampire-hunting doctor (Roger Perry) to track Yorga down (with wooden stakes made from a broomstick, no less), and the body count rises predictably. Dry performances and tepid dialogue don't help much, but the then-modern setting and intelligent plotting make Count Yorga worthy of its 1971 sequel. It's not as stylish as Christopher Lee's Hammer films, but it's certainly not anemic. --Jeff Shannon

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