November 11th, 2011

NOCTURNA (1979) ***

Here’s a funny vampire-disco-horror-comedy that you might’ve missed. It’s from the director of Fairy Tales and it’s almost as classic as that fine film. Sure, the gags are pretty hit-or-miss, but when it hits, it’s often hilarious.

John Carradine stars as Dracula, who is now so old now that his fangs are dentures. Things are so bad for poor Drac that he can’t even pay the rent on his castle and he’s reduced to turning it into a hotel for tourists. His granddaughter Nocturna (Nai Bonet) falls in love with a disco musician and she leaves Transylvania and heads to New York to be with him. Dracula gets wind of this and he goes to The Big Apple to stop her.

Nocturna is Bad Movie Jackpot for undiscriminating fans of 70’s cheese. If the gaudy fashions, dated music (the soundtrack features original cuts by Gloria Gaynor and Vicky Sue Robinson), and rampant disco dancing aren’t you’re thing; there’s still plenty here for you to enjoy. There’s a great scene where Nocturna takes a bath and does a spoken word rap about love over the soundtrack a la Margot Kidder in Superman. It has to be seen to be believed. And wait until you get a load of the scenes where the vampires turn into bats. All of the transformations are done via animation that looks like leftovers from an episode of Schoolhouse Rock. It’s too hilarious for words.

The cast is better than you’d expect. Nai Bonet (who also wrote and produced) is kinda hot and gets a couple of good nude scenes. Yvonne DeCarlo is pretty funny as Dracula’s old flame, Jugula, as is Sy (Repo Man) Richardson as a vampire pimp who sells blood cocaine. Hands down the funniest performance comes from Brother Theodore as Carradine’s assistant. He gets a bunch of monologues that are hilarious. But it’s John Carradine who gets the best line of the movie when he says, “If I’m dead… how come I still have to go wee-wee?”

AKA: Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula.