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At the Westwood Orphanage outside San Francisco, Tommy, one of the orphans, chases his ball through the woods and into an abandoned graveyard. As Tommy sits down to rest, the ground begins to heave and arms reach out from the earth below as the bodies of the undead arise from their graves and advance toward the boy. Tommy runs away in fright, but is blocked by the red-caped figure of Count Yorga looming over him. Meanwhile, at the orphanage, the teachers dress in costume for a fund-raising event. As the children's choir sings, Mitzi Carthay, one of the teachers hears someone calling her name from the hallway and goes to investigate. Another of the teachers, Cynthia Nelson, feeling disquieted by the moaning of the blowing winds, can no longer contain her distress and runs from the auditorium into the hallway, where she encounters Count Yorga. Cynthia, who thought that the Count was in costume, is surprised when he introduces himself as a real count and informs her that he has just bought the nearby Gateway mansion. Captivated by Cynthia's beauty, the count begins to flirt with her, and she introduces him to her parents Liza and Bill and her sisters Ellen and the mute Jennifer, all of whom work at the orphanage. Cynthia also introduces Ellen's fiancé, Jason, and her fiancé, psychiatrist David Baldwin. While David dances with Ellen, Cynthia cuts her finger on a chipped glass, after which Yorga gallantly puts his lips to the wound to stem the bleeding. Soon after, Tommy, who has been unable to sleep, interrupts the gathering to ask if he can spend the night at the Nelson house. After Jennifer leaves with Tommy, one of the teachers finds Mitzi lying in the hallway, unconscious. As David notes a bruise on her throat, Mitzi gradually awakens but is unable to remember what happened. While the group hovers over Mitzi, Yorga slips back to his castle where he enters a vault-like room filled with young women vampires emerging from their coffins. Perching on his throne, Yorga surveys his court while his disfigured valet Brudda attends to his wishes. Meanwhile, at the Nelson house, the howling winds have awakened Cynthia, Ellen and their parents. As the women express their sense of foreboding, Tommy walks into the room and a door flies open and hits Bill in the head. Soon after, as Cynthia passes by a window, an arm comes crashing through the pane and seizes her by the neck, while in the hallway, Yorga's army of the undead advance toward the family. After draining the blood from Ellen and her parents, the vampires carry the unconscious Cynthia to Yorga's mansion, where the count puts her into a hypnotic trance, commands her to forget all that has happened and remember only that she was involved in an auto accident outside the count's house. Upon awakening Cynthia, Yorga informs her that the doctor has ordered that she rest there for a few days and that he has notified her family of the accident. The next morning, Jennifer enters the living room and discovers the bloodied bodies of her husband and daughter. Finding Tommy huddled in a corner, Jennifer gathers up the boy and goes to notify Rev. Thomas, the head of the orphanage, about the massacre. Summoned by the reverend, Lt. Madden and Sgt. O'Connor of the police department accompany them all back to the Nelson house, but find the living room immaculate and devoid of bodies. When the sergeant spots a letter from Jennifer's family addressed to her, advising her that they have gone to visit a sick relative, Jennifer claims it is a lie. After Tommy contradicts Jennifer and insists that he saw the family leave, the police discount her story. While Brudda disposes of the Nelsons' bodies in a pit of quicksand on the estate, in San Francisco, Jason and David ponder the discrepancies in Tommy's and Jennifer's accounts of the family's disappearance. Recalling the marks on Mitzi's neck, David posits that vampires may actually exist. Meanwhile, as Jennifer rests in her bedroom, she hears the sound of Tommy arguing with another boy over his ball. Peering out the window, Jennifer sees that Tommy has knocked down the other boy and is about to crush his skull with a rock. When Tommy notices Jennifer, he puts down the rock and runs through the woods to Yorga's house, followed by Jennifer. Over dinner with Yorga that night, Cynthia questions why her host is abstaining from eating. When Cynthia declares she feels well enough to return home, Yorga walks over to her side and she begins to experience faint glimmers of the killings. Saying goodnight, Yorga proceeds to the San Francisco coffeehouse where Mitzi works and surreptitiously follows Mitzi and her boyfriend, Joe, back to the boat on which they live. When the boat's lights begin to flash on and off, Joe goes out to the pier to investigate and is killed by Yorga, who then enters the boat's cabin and lustfully sucks the blood from Mitzi's throat. That night, as Cynthia lies captive in her bedroom, she hears cackling voices calling her name. Descending the stairs to the cellar to investigate, Cynthia finds a room filled with suits of armor. Panicking, she knocks over one of the suits, and the crash triggers another flashback. Back at the orphanage, Jennifer has told David, Jason and the reverend that she followed Tommy to Yorga's house, but Tommy denies ever having gone there. Before leaving for the evening, David asks Jason to stand guard at the orphanage and hands him a crucifix for protection. Later, when the police find Joe's body, David asks Lt. Madden to test his blood for traces of vampirism, but the lieutenant refuses. As Jason dozes in a chair, Tommy awakens him and, admitting that he went to Yorga's, tells him that Ellen is there and offers to lead him to her. At the estate, Tommy locks Jason in a room where he is greeted by the fanged Ellen and her ravenous companions, who hungrily fall upon Jason and drink his blood. The next day, the reverend develops a photograph that he took at the costume party and discovers that the figure of Yorga does not appear. When David shows the photo to Madden and O'Connor as proof that Yorga is a vampire, they scoff at his accusations until they discover that Jennifer has been murdered. Deciding that they must search Yorga's house, the reverend agrees to divert Yorga by calling upon him to ask for funds for the orphanage, allowing David and the officers to infiltrate the premises. At the estate, Yorga cordially invites the reverend for a stroll in his garden, where he stumbles into the pit of quicksand and drowns. Returning to the house, Yorga unleashes his minions of undead on the intruders. As the vampires pursue the detectives, David finds Cynthia and runs into the hallway. Trying to escape the advancing vampires, O'Connor flees into the vault and is trapped when the gates slam shut and one of the vampires sinks her teeth into him. After Tommy stabs Madden, the vampires converge on David as Cynthia leaves his side to join Yorga. While Yorga leads Cynthia away, David evades the vampires and follows him to the bell tower, brandishing a hatchet he has pulled from the wall. When David trips on a stair and drops the hatchet, Yorga attacks him. Her mind flashing back to the killings, Cynthia picks up the hatchet and cleaves Yorga with it, after which David pushes the vampire off the bell tower. As Cynthia embraces David with relief, he smiles at her, revealing his fangs.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||GP||Premiere Info:||Los Angeles opening: 18 Aug 1971|
|Release Date:||1971||Production Date:||
A Michael Macready Bob Kelljan Production
|Color/B&W:||Color||Distributions Co:||American International Pictures|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Peppertree Productions, Inc.|
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User Ratings & Review
Liked Even More Than Count Yorga
Robert Quarry was so much more intriguing than the original vampire,Count Cho,er,Dracula.Dracula was boring in comparison to this gem.And this seemed like...
Was George Macready one of the producers too?Sounds like it from what Mr Quarry had to say about his signing on.George retired after this film,but he was...
Loved Better Than Count Yorga From Year Before
How much of this was ad libbed?Some of the dialogue is hysterical-esp the nutty old professor-where were his uppers?Fell about laughing with his...