Mama Dracula

Year of Release: 1980
Genre: Comedy/Horror
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 91 minutes (1:31)
Director: Boris Szulzinger


Louise Fletcher ... Mama Dracula
Maria Schneider ... Nancy Hawaii
Marc-Henri Wajnberg ... Vladimir
Alexander Wajnberg ... Ladislas
Jimmy Shuman ... Professor Van Bloed
Jess Hahn ... Le commissaire
Michel Israel ... Rosa


Mama Dracula has had a rough day, and is desperate for a good soak in a hot tub - of blood - of virgin blood, of course... But getting blood from a virgin just ain't what it used to be. Centuries ago she could just order out, now she has to rely on the dubious talents of a pair of bumbling vampire twins who do somehow manage to attract the attention of a virtuous young woman... Okay, so she's a policewoman... Nobody's perfect!


Mama Dracula, remindin' us that you can France if you wannu, but you'll leave your friends behind. Cripes almighty - throw a coupla boobs or a severed head up on screen an the MPAA totally hoses their shorts, but do they warn us about THIS? Studio shoulda made the tagline "from the people who think Jerry Lewis is funny" to give a guy some warning, yeesh.

An speakin' of projects built on a shaky foundation, things've been lookin' a tad grim at the Grime Time the last few weeks. Normally I wouldn't go borin' everybody with my pathetic little problems, but I figured all you patriotic souls who've taken Drive-In Jesus into your hearts have a right to know. I'm not gonna lie to ya - two weeks ago there were three cars in the lot an it was like watchin' some kinda unholy live mash-up of Mystery Science Theater 3000 an Hee Haw, with a half dozen drunk rednecks yellin' things at the screen. Just to give you an idea of how bad things'd gotten - normally there'd be 80, 90 drunk rednecks yellin' things at the screen, an I was startin' to think maybe there really *was* a limit to the number of times people'll pay to see Colossus and the Amazon Queen.

Fortunately, Skunky Hernandez had a plan - "Okay, thees what we do: Heelyar', you and Taetnis push screen down and we forget thees ever haypen."

"So you're gonna demolish a priceless historical monument just like that? Because of a few lousy weekends? Skunky, this's the only idea you've ever had that didn't result in community service or farm equipment bein' hauled off to repay a predatory lender, so I ask this with all due respect - ARE YOU OUTTA YER FRIGGIN' MIND?!" I responded with as much control as I could muster.

"Mebbie so, but I'm on winning streak at moment, besides, there ees jobs for all of you on new..."

"Skunky, if you say llama ranch so help me," I interrupted.

"Llamas ees 2015 greengo, get with times. I start capybara ranch - be first to market while soakares get keeked in junk by shaggy camels with bad attitude," he declared smugly.

"Skunky, if you'd just sprung for the gott-danged playground equipment like I said we wouldn't be in this mess! It worked with the catfish pond, you needa be buildin' not demolishin'! Getcher head outta the sand you chunkheaded..."

"Wait, shuttup! You geev me idea... aye carumba, ees so obvious now... saind! We build horseshoe peets - cheaper than playground, caters to fat people, fat people buy more concession food... si, muy bueno, thees guaranteed heet," he hollered at nobody in particular.

"Well, yeah, that ain't bad, actually. But we're gonna need sand an lumber, you gonna cough up the cash?" I prodded, but Skunky was already at the completion stage of his master plan in his head like usual.

"Heelyar', use pallets behind barn for frames, I don' care where saind come from, just 'geet 'r done', as fat greengo in flannel say."

"Oh, brilliant Skunky, we'll just drive on over to Nevada an load up the Topaz' trunk," I objected, to no avail.

"Good plane, you guys handle grunt work, I spread word," an off he sauntered to make promises to the movie-goin' public we weren't gonna be able to keep. Or so I thought at the time.

"Ahem," came a gruff, stoic voice from the corner of the projection deck - it was Tetnis, who generally only speaks as a prelude to somebody's face bein' caved in at Walleye's Topless Dancin' & Bait Shop. "I know where we can get the sand," he offered.

"You're not talkin' about the preschool, are ya?" I asked.

"Well not if you're gonna be a baby about it," he glared indignantly.

So, long story short, that's how Tetnis, Billy Hilliard an me ended up at a storage buildin' on the side of the highway at 2 in the AM shovelin' traction sand into the back of Tetnis' Dodge Dude.

"Look, we pay taxes sometimes, and they buy this sand with our tax money. Therefore - this's technically *our* sand, okay?" Tetnis tried reassurin', but Billy an I weren't buyin' a word of it.

Still, I'd been gone mosta the day an I wanted to get home before Apollo got desperate an ate his way into the trash can, so we filled the Dude up to the top of the rear window an were about to split, when all the sudden a car cop turns offa the access road an flicks his lights on an before Billy an me knew what was goin' on Tetnis'd put the pedal to the floor, busted through the barbed wire fence, an torn off through the woods. Thank cripes it'd been thinned in there or he'da gotten us for sure, but Tetnis lead the poor bastard over a coupla real gnarly stumps that completely destroyed his undercarriage an got 'im high-centered.

"Looks like you've done that a coupla times before," I accused, simultaneously scared-shirtless an more'n a little impressed.

"Time or two," he agreed, as if he'd just done somethin' mundane as mowin' the lawn.

Can't fault his results though, cause we got away with it. Billy built the frames, Tetnis an I dug an filled the pits, an once Skunky got the word spread around we sold outta spaces inside 20 minutes an hadda turn 15 additional cars away at the cattle guard Friday night. I guess it's a small price to pay for savin' the drive-in... despite the fact that my shorts an the preschool sandbox had somethin' in common by the time we made it back to town.

It's a damn good thing we came through too, cause if anybody'd noticed what was up on the screen durin' the second feature I coulda been the victim of a horseshoe related homicide, bein's this flick is basically Monty Python meets Rocky Horror with permanent brain damage caused by excessive cocaine consumption. I don't know about anybody else, but I want the money my grandparents paid to help get France back on its feet after Germany got all goose-steppy. I don't wanna say this flick is bad or anything, but three copies of it mysteriously disappeared from Gina Haspel's CIA locker just before her senate confirmation hearings. Heck, who knows, maybe I'm just "culturally illiterate" or somethin' - that'd at least explain the chest pains I get watchin' British costume dramas on PBS. But we're gonna give this thing a chance: fair an square, no fingers on the scale or down our throats, alright? Alright. Now try chokin' down these three chunks of cinematic chicanery before you read this sucker, otherwise it's gonna make even less sense than it already does. First, if you plan on bathin' in the blood of virgins, be sure to hire a discreet plumber. Second, vampirism is an effective cure for the fear of growin' old, but requires a lot more personal sacrifice than just buyin' a muscle car or a boy toy. An third, if one is virtuous, cunning, and enterprising enough, collecting your used pads and tampons can turn menstrual pains into monetary gains.

The movie begins with this goofy professor who gets his hair cut at the same places as the lead singer from Green Day (Professor Van Bloed) gettin' a letter from the Countess Dracula invitin' 'im to a big hematology shindig at 'er castle in Francylvania, an he's super excited about it until he boards a Carnival Cruise ship an gets stuck at the table next to the string section in the dinin' hall. Eventually he makes it to an inn where the band plays nothin' but scores composed for Olive Garden commercials, when all the sudden the world's most laid back father shoves his Swiss Miss spokesmodel daughter (Virginia) into Bloed's face jugs first. It's lookin' like she's about to invite 'im back to 'er French quarters so they can go "Oui! Oui! Oui!" all the way home, but next thing you know this linebacker who looks like Pete Steele from Type O Negative (Rosa) busts in an grunts at Bloed like she's passin' a gall stone the size of a halibut sinker til he gets his hinder in gear an hops on 'er Uber carriage. Once they get to the castle things start gettin' weird, cause about five feet into the doorway these two gay vampires who look like long lost Ramones start tryin' to nibble his kibble til the Countess comes downstairs talkin' like Chekov from Star Trek an tells 'im she needs his expertise. I guess they must be experiencin' a shortage of pants-wettin' dweebs around these parts or somethin'. Then mornin' rolls around an Broad the Impaler gets psychotherapy from 'er shrink while Jody an Fi Fi Ramone kidnap the women who come into their department store to try on turtleneck sweaters an chastity belts. Meanwhile, Bloed is snoopin' around the royal can where he finds this bathtub that looks like it was custom made at Pottery Barn, only when he starts screwin' around with the showerhead in the ceilin' he ends up gettin' drenched in plasma an knockin' 'imself colder'n the Countess's cooter. Then Trampira comes home an hasta have Nana Leatherface haul Bloed's candyass outta there so she can get scrubbed down in the tub by 'er two bath poofters before dinner. That's when she finally explains to Bloed that she's actually older'n Cloris Leachman's retainer an that she's stayed young by bathing in the blood of virgins an using Loreal skin care products, only it's startin' to get purt'near impossible to maintain a supply of virgin blood in a country where the age of consent is 14, an so she needs him to figure out a way to reproduce the stuff chemically so she won't have to relocate to Japan.

Then Mama takes out 'er sewin' kit an starts stickin' nekkid women for drinks while Bloed's tryin' to do science stuff an he gets all bent outta shape about the screamin' an her two rascally scampires pinchin' plasma outta the taps in his lab an basically tells 'em his blood bank ain't too big to fail an that they'd better start makin' some deposits cause he's tired of havin' to attach leeches to 'imself an wring 'em out like wet laundry. So now the Glossed Boys hafta go kidnap a whole mess of nekkid ladies from the dressin' room of their boutique, only one of 'em gets away cause some rotten little girl flips up 'er dress an flashes the Star of David she'd got printed on 'er underwear til they're too freaked out to function. Unfortunately, the one that got away (Nancy) is actually an undercover cop workin' with the constable, an she ends up infiltratin' amateur night in the castle's stage production of Men Are Scum where a buncha chicks sit around dressed in tutus while Nancy bitches about gettin' ghosted by some jerk. Mama Rackula's on to 'er though, an she locks Nancy up in this bedroom with one of those heart-shaped beds that only pathetic middle-aged men with bad combovers buy, until Nancy gets so desperate that she hasta start flirtin' with Bloed to schmooze 'im into lettin' 'er out, only to be foiled by Rosa the Bulldoza. Meanwhile, the constable's down at the inn protectin' an servicin' Virginia so she won't end up in the Countess' bubble bath, an once he's finished there he drives on out to the castle where Stella Lugosi tells 'im one of 'er kids's throwin' a big fashion show an that the entire village is welcome to attend just as long as they'll pass through the wooden stake detector on their way in. So a few hours pass until it's just about show time, when Nancy starts readin' Mama's life story outta the Big Book of Bloodthirsty Bitches she finds on the shelf an Mama hasta step in to make a few corrections an explain that it was an unauthorized autobiography cause she refused to grant Anne Rice an Interview with the Vampire. This's about the point where Mama finally cuts to the chase an explains to Nancy that even though 'er Bloodbath and Beyond regimen's keepin' 'er in pretty good shape, she's startin' to feel 'er age, an that she'd really like it if Nancy'd join the clan an shack up with 'er fruit bats so she can hear the flitter flutter of little wings around the castle before one of those nasty Belmonts show up to do 'er in. I left out some stuff but only cause it was ridiculous, so if you're one of those guys who just can't stand not knowin' what happens, the flick's in the public domain an there's a link to it below.

Alrighty, well, I think you've gotta be either French or Belgian to "get" this movie. I don't mean to say that the French are comic geniuses or that Americans are dimwits, but there's a pretty obvious disconnect here between what the two cultures find funny. That's not to say that it doesn't have its moments - the best of which is the scene where the Little Orphan Annie lookin' girl finds the secret door in the dressing room and, upon failing to be frightened by the vampire's attempt to scare her, ineffectively flashes her underpants bearing a cross on one side, before turning around and flashing the reverse side bearing the Star of David, causing nothing less than a total vampire freakout. The vampire psychotherapy scene where Louise Fletcher tells the therapist about being young and having the old crone point her bony fingers at her and prophesize that one day she would look the same way is pretty good too, but generally speaking most of the comedy falls flat. This pretty well sinks it from an entertainment perspective, because for all intents and purposes the movie really isn't a Horror/Comedy - rather, it's a spoof of vampire films, and therefore has nothing else to fall back on. Kinda put all their eggs in one basket, stuck the basket on top of their car, promptly forgot about it, and drove off into the sunset, which is unfortunate because the main premise of the movie is actually pretty good. Unfortunately, it's a very undistinguished flick, with virtually nothing to make it the least bit memorable, and I fully expect to have forgotten about it within three weeks. It's no great mystery as to why it dropped into the public domain, but if you're one to look on the bright side of things - that's probably the only way it was ever going to be seen, because it's not the kinda movie a distributor is going to throw money at to get the rights to and then throw *more* money at to print thousands of copies. Basically it fell into obscurity almost immediately upon release (with good reason), and so shall it stay until humanity either nukes itself into oblivion or the sun explodes, which is probably for the best.

Guess there's nothin' left to do but sharpen up the stakes and drive the point home, so let's get to it. The plot, as I mentioned previously, has a genuinely funny premise, but never gets fleshed out with well written jokes or devices that play to the angle, and ultimately fails due to a weak script. It's also a bit disjointed, with seemingly random events and bizarre dialog exchanges that repeat themselves for no apparent reason - like the scene involving the guy in the clothing store who questions the mute maid about his missing wife three or four times because she can't answer. Then you've got the sequence where the brothers are feeding women into their machine that drains the blood from its victims for the doctor's experiments, only one of the women rolls off the conveyor belt and for some reason they have to hop on their motorcycle and drive to town to stop her from escaping, when by all accounts she was in the same building as they were. Maybe the director figured that they'd gone to the trouble of shooting that thrilling motorbike scene and come Hell or high water they were gonna use it, but it sure's heck doesn't make any sense. In short: good premise, terrible execution. The acting is probably the high point of the movie, as everyone involved does a commendable job of bringing out the best of a lousy script. Louise Fletcher is decent as the aristocratic no-nonsense Countess, Michel Israel is fairly amusing as the maid modeled after the "Pretty Woman" version of Leatherface, and the Wajnberg Brothers are also pretty entertaining as the Countess's effeminate, bungling sons, although Maria Schneider is wasted as the undercover cop. Surprisingly, there really isn't a bad performance in the whole movie, but even so, everybody's just north of average and not particularly memorable.

Here's who matters and why: Louise Fletcher (Virtuosity, Nightmare on the 13th Floor, Shadowzone, Invaders from Mars 1986, Firestarter, Strange Invaders, The Exorcist II), Bonnie Sikowitz (Murderlust). Louise Fletcher will of course be best known as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Helen Rosemond in Cruel Intentions. Maria Schneider was Jeanne in Last Tango in Paris once upon a time, as well as The Girl in The Passenger, and Suzy Falk went on to voice one of the Triplets in the French animated feature: The Triplets of Belleville.

The special effects are essentially non-existent. A little blood here and there, a minor explosion, and the white face paint on the two male vampires. That's it. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we expect a little more - even when the movie's primary intention is to make the audience laugh. The shooting locations aren't bad, particularly the castle, which looks to have been an honest-to-God castle (complete with moat) for the exterior shots. The interiors aren't bad either, and feature a fancy-shmancy double staircase and opulent decor that brings some much needed class and a traditional aristocratic atmosphere to the flick. The inn is decent as well, boosted by the kind of authentic European architecture one expects from a vampire movie, and the Belgian countryside and downtown districts are suitable as well. As you can probably imagine, the doctor's laboratory is dog doo-doo, but the flick is a satire of the vampire/mad scientist subgenres, so it doesn't really go against the tone of the movie. The soundtrack is generally on point as well, and lines up perfectly with the atmosphere projected by the castle's interior. Whole lotta stuffy harpsichord music is what it boils down to, and while that single instrument totally dominates the entire soundtrack, it's exactly what you'd expect for a movie of this type. There's some goofy tuba music as well that's inserted into some of the most comedic sequences, but for the most part - hope ya like the harpsichord. Overall, several of the film's technical aspects are better than you'd expect, but it's just damn difficult to sit through for much of the running time. Now, if I ran the world and Hollywood ever listened to me, *this* would be an excellent flick to remake with a good comedic cast and a sharp comedy writer... but then we might hafta go a coupla days without a superhero movie with a nine figure budget, so as you can see that's out of the question. I wouldn't recommend this flick for general or even niche consumption, because even though its score may not seem *that* terrible, over two-thirds of it come by way of technical proficiency. Just trust me on this - it's not something you'll enjoy.

Rating: 32%