Dracula and Son – original title: Dracula père et fils – is a 1976 French comedy horror feature film written and directed by Édouard Molinaro, who would subsequently go on to make the international arthouse hit La Cage aux Folles.
The film is notorious for being brutally re-edited and re-dubbed with crass humour for the US market, and for supposedly ‘tricking’ Christopher Lee into starring. Lee apparently believed himself to be playing a different vampire, but found his character renamed ‘Dracula’ when the film was released. As such, it is Lee’s third fictional Dracula film (he was also in Jess Franco’s Count Dracula and the documentary In Search of Dracula) that wasn’t made for Hammer Films.
With angry villagers driving them away from their castle in Transylvania, Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) and his son Ferdinand (Bernard Menez) head abroad.
Dracula ends up in London, England where he becomes a horror movie star exploiting his vampire status. His son, meanwhile, is ashamed of his roots and ends up a night watchman in Paris, France where he falls for a girl. Naturally, tensions arise when father and son are reunited and both take a liking to the same girl.
Cast and characters:
- Christopher Lee … Le prince des Ténèbres
- Bernard Menez … Ferdinand Poitevin
- Marie-Hélène Breillat … Nicole Clement
- Catherine Breillat … Herminie Poitevin
- Bernard Alane … Jean
- Jean-Claude Dauphin … Cristéa
- Raymond Bussières … L’homme âgé à l’anpe
- Mustapha Dali … Khaleb
- Xavier Depraz … Le majordome
The film was released in France on September 16, 1976.
It was later distributed in 1979 in the United States in an attempt to cash in on that year’s ‘Dracula fever’ in general and Love at First Bite in particular, which it has some similarity to. The American distributors, Quartet Films, cut many scenes and replaced them with different gags, reducing an apparently sophisticated comedy to a crass slapstick movie.
Allmovie gave the film a rating of two stars out of five, but noted that “this was a very witty film prior to its decimation by an uncaring American distributor.
A review in TV Guide gave a positive review of three stars out of four, noting that the film “actually works because it treats its subject with respect and doesn’t degrade it for cheap, campy laughs.” while noting that the film has a “poor dubbing job” that made the character Ferdinand Poitevin sound like a cross between Woody Allen and Austin Pendleton.
The film has since lapsed into relative obscurity, and no English language or subtitled version of the complete film is officially available.
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