Film: Count Yorga

A real lady killer, he is.

A pair of horror movies from American International Pictures about said titled vampire. Though neither movie shares any continuity with each other, being stand alone stories.

  • Count Yorga (Original Title: The Loves of Count Yorga): Yorga arrives in Los Angeles from a European country searching for fresh blood and to spread his curse in a land that only sees vampirism as fiction. He targets a woman named Donna who recently lost her mother after being hired to perform a seance. Yorga first goes after her friend, Erica, whose bite wounds and sudden behavior draw the attention of her doctor friend, Hayes, who suspects Yorga might be a vampire.

  • The Return of Count Yorga: Yorga arrives in a new community (to which the bridge "conveniently" goes out) and amasses an army of undead women. While out at a charity event for an orphanage, he meets a young woman named Cynthia and becomes smitten with her. He sends his brides to kill her family and bring her to him, brainwashing her into thinking that she was the sole survivor of a car accident and hoping to woo her into willingly becoming a vampire. All the while her boyfriend, Baldwin, investigates her disappearance.

If it all sounds familiar, that's because it is essentially a 70's take of Dracula, though Yorga was much more genre savvy, cunning and suave, as well as succeeding where Dracula failed: Spreading his vampirisim in a modern day foreign land. Many of the people he turns aren't even killed by the end of the films. Both films are very good popcorn horror movie flicks despite/because of the low budgets.

Interesting side note: the first film started off as a softcore porn movie. Robert Quarry, the actor who played Yorga, agreed to do the film if it was just turned into a horror movie. You can still see some of the original overtones of the film however.

The movies provide the following tropes:

  • Amazon Brigade: Yorga's brides act as this for him.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: No one makes it out of these films alive. Or at the least with their humanity and morality intact.
  • Bad Boss: Briefly seen in the first movie when Yorga pushes Donna's mother into a stake to distract Michael and run off.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Even though he dies at the end of both films. Yorga winds up winning posthumously due to a combination of his vampirisim being permanent, everyone who invades his compound being killed or turned, said surviving turned vampires still being evil, and that anyone outside those who knew about him being unaware that vampires exist.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: At the party at the beginning of the second movie. Ellen, Cynthia's sister, mentions how cool it would be if vampires were real. A few scenes later, Yorga's brides raid her house, kill her parents, kidnap her sister and, oh yeah, turn her into a vampire herself where she promptly helps kill her boyfriend.
  • Big "NO!" The last thing Cynthia says as a human before the newly vamped Baldwin bites her.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Yorga's brides in the first film follow this hair color. It was intially just Blonde (Donna's mother) and redhead. Erica joining fulfills the "brunette" of the three.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The child character from the second movie.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: In both films, in the first by Yorga himself. The second by his brides to kidnap a target.
  • Cassandra Truth: Both movies have them in some form or another.
  • Choke Holds: Yorga rather favorite method of execution. As he's a vampire and has superhuman strength, its very effective.
  • Creepy Child: Tommy in the second film after Yorga brainwashes him. He remains stoic for the rest of the film and later kills two of the characters.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Both movies.
    • Count Yorga, Vampire: Michael is the only one left to rescue Donna after Hayes is killed by Yorga's brides (among them friend turned vampire, Erica). He manages to kill Yorga, rescue Donna and chase off his remaining vampire brides. But just as he relaxes and turns to Donna, she lunges at him, fangs bared. He was too late to keep Yorga from turning her.
    • Return of Count Yorga: Like the first movie it only comes down to one rescuer, Dr. Baldwin, after the others are killed. He finds Cynthia and makes to escape, but are cornered by Yorga and his army of brides (which include some of their friends and even Cynthia's sister who were turned during the movie). Yorga takes Cynthia to be bitten but Baldwin escapes the brides and continues his pursuit. Things climax on the balcony of the manor where Yorga is killed (by Cynthia no less) and thrown off the building. But just as Cynthia starts to celebrate, she finds to her horror that Baldwin is a vampire (likely bitten by the brides). He promptly grabs and bites Cynthia, ironically dooming her to undeath that he was just trying to prevent not moments ago.
  • Death by Sex: Subverted and played straight in the first movie.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Yorga himself, he's apparently dealt with many a vampire hunter before and practially run circles around the protagonists. He only loses due to either being too brash at the last minute or something he didn't take into account.
    • Erica once she becomes a vampire. She ceases her attack on Michael, banking on him being too sentimental to stake her, and hides behind the red-haired bride when flashed with a cross. She also glances ominously at Donna during this, likely knowing she's not human anymore.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Yorga's brides go around barefoot.
  • Eat the Camera: Donna does this at the end of the first film as she attacks Michael upon turning. The screen freezes just as she lunges at him.
  • Eats Babies: One of the more infamous scenes in the first movie involved one of the bitten characters, temporarily succumbing to her bloodlust, eating her pet cat. A unused scene from the film showed one of the brides actually eating a baby, though it is mentioned later in the film.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Erica in the first movie, Mitzi in the second. Both after becoming vampires.
  • Evil Makeover: Yorga's a very old fashioned vampire, so a lot of his female victims wear gowns after turning. Their pale skin and wild unkempt hair help complete the ensemble.
  • Expy: The first film gleans many things from Dracula with Count Yorga being the title character. Baldwin stands in for Dr Steward and Helsing, Michael is Harker, Paul is Quincy, Erica is Lucy, and Donna is Mina. Yorga even has three brides as Dracula did.
  • Hope Spot: Both movies end with the final two survivors managing to kill Yorga. But one of them is revealed to be a vampire and feeds on the last survivor.
  • The Igor: Brudah, Yorga's deformed servant.
  • Immune to Bullets: In Return of Count Yorga, two cops are beset by Yorga's vampire brides in a hallway. They shoot at the two front-most brides. But of course, being dead, they barely flinch and keep coming after them despite having bloodied stomachs.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. While it wasn't used in the first film, there's mention of a baby being found dead in the woods with teeth marks on its neck and drained of blood. And somewhat unseen in the second, when the kid character runs into Yorga and is turned evil by his power.
  • Kill 'em All: All the characters, including Yorga, are either killed or turned into vampires.
  • Large Ham: Yorga when taunting his opponents:
    Yorga: (Over the intercom in his mansion) Dr. Baldwin. This is Count Yorga. You are going to die. You've been a fool, Doctor, and now you are going to die a horrible death.
  • Messy Hair: The brides in both films usually sport this. Though considering they're undead, there's no point in grooming anyway. It actually makes them scarier.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The vampires' fangs in this film look more like a piranha then vampire. Oddly though, when Yorga bites his female victim, he only leaves tiny pinpricks.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Subverted, even if Yorga dies his victims will still remain undead.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They have the usual weakness to sunlight and crosses, but their teeth are very piranha like rather then the two fangs. The turned victims are also rather zombie like with umkempt hair, they almost never speak, ( Donna's mother has a few lines in the first film and Ellen in the second when she talks to her boyfriend, post turning), and they are relentless in trying to catch their prey. They also can apparently decay if left underground too long after turning as a few of the brides in the second movie have discolored skin.
  • Reality Ensues: It makes sense that Yorga's victims don't change back to normal once he's killed, as they're technically already dead. So even though they're vampires, the people they were as humans are indeed gone.
  • Rise from Your Grave: The opening of the second movie where Yorga commands his vampires brides to crawl out of their graves.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: A vampirized Erica and the nameless red-haired bride try to attack Michael after he discovers Hayes' body. He manages to fend them off and raises his stake threateningly. The red-haired bride wisely decides to retreat when he does.
  • Slasher Smile: A now undead Ellen (Cythia's sister who, unlike her parents, joins Yorga's brides) sports one of these while being confronted by her boyfriend in the second movie.
  • Spiritual Successor: 1972's The Deathmaster stars Robert Quarry (who plays Yorga) and was made by the same production team, though it features Quarry as a different vampire character. Many fans and reviews like to name it as an "unofficial" third Yorga movie.
  • Staking the Loved One: Averted. One of the protagonists in the first film is given the chance to stake a female friend of his that has been turned (she actually stands there and waits for him). He considers it but ultimately can't do it and leaves her in her undead state.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Anyone turned is instantly evil, obeying Yorga without question and attacking friends and family with no hesitation. If Yorga's killed, they continue on with their bloodlust as usual, as was the case with Erica and the unnamed redheaded bride who comes after Donna and Michael even though their master was staked moments before.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Pretty much all vampires here.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Oddly not Yorga, but his brides when they feed on anyone.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The beginning of the second movie sees a priest and the female lead discussing the "Santa Anna Winds" which the priest perceives as a bad omen that evil forces are coming. Cut to the graveyard where Yorga is commanding his vampire brides to rise from their graves.
  • Virus Victim Symptoms: Erica in the first movie displays these the day after she gets bitten by Yorga. In contrast to her perky self at the start of the movie, she becomes despondent and listless when Hayes looks her over. When her boyfriend tries to call her we see from her end that she's trashed her house and just throws the phone to the floor, staring at it blankly as her boyfriend tries to get her to answer as if she doesn't know what it is. When her boyfriend decides to visit her personally, he's shocked to find her feeding on her pet kitten and screaming like a banshee. And finally when he tries to get in close she growls for him to stay away. She suddenly acts seductively, opening her arms to him, before coming to her senses and crying in his arms, frightened at what she's becoming.