The Return Of Count Yorga (1971) Blu-ray

81DbRKI3c7L._SL1500_I never saw The Return Of Count Yorga when I was a kid; I saw it for the first time back in 2009 when I bought that Midnite Movies double feature of both Yorga movies at Wal-Mart. My initial reaction was that it was an okay follow-up. Had I seen it when I was a kid I might have had a different reaction. The first one terrified me, but that’s because I saw it as a kid. Since I don’t hold it in as high regard as I do with the first I don’t generally give it a lot of repeat viewings, in fact last night’s viewing of Scream’s new blu-ray would be only the second time in my life I’ve seen it, but with that revisit I found it’s grown on me over these last few years.

I know it’s officially referred to as a “sequel,” but to me it looks more like a remake. By the end of the first movie Yorga (Robert Quarry) has decimated most of the cast either personally or through his vampire brides and eventually ends up dead himself before the end credits roll. In the sequel there is no connection whatsoever to the first one, meaning no explanation to how he may have survived and/or gotten resurrected, and Roger Perry, who played psychiatrist, Jim Hayes, basically the Van Helsing of the first flick, appears yet again in the “sequel,” but not as the same character, because he was killed, but as another doctor, a Dr. David Baldwin. So, you see, I’m pretty sure this is a remake no one really acknowledges as such, but, you know what, I’m cool with that since Quarry as Yorga terrified me as a kid; a perfect example of matching the perfect actor with the perfect role.

Yorga is still in California for this new go around. This time he’s bought a mansion close to this orphanage and wastes no time in indoctrinating one of the local inhabitants into his fold, but not as a vampire, but as a psychopathic lure. The poor kid is Tommy (Philip Frame). He was playing ball around sunset and wandered into this woodsy cemetery where he timed his appearance perfectly to coincide with the rising of theses female vampires. Yorga is also there looking far too comfortable in what I deem to be too much sunlight. By the way some of the day for night scenes are atrocious. In some it looks like Yorga is actually tolerating the daylight, like in that opening I just described.

Tommy’s job now becomes one of lure and killer. He’s responsible for bringing one poor guy to Yorga’s house to get drained and stabs to death two other supporting characters, a mute chick by the name of Jennifer (Yvonne Wilder) and the local police chief, Lieutenant Madden (Rudy De Luca), but enough about this psycho snot.

Yorga gets fixated on this one particular chick: Cynthia Nelson (Mariette Hartley). She lives with her parents and her sister and after meeting her at this Halloween party at the orphanage it’s clear he must now have her. So, in true vampire fashion, he kills her whole family one night, turning her sis into one of his brides and kidnapping her. He then uses his psionic abilities to wipe her mind of the incident and replace it with a car accident she had outside his house and that they’re friends. This allows him to keep her at his house while she’s under the false guise she’s recuperating from the accident. The only witness to this massacre is Jennifer and Tommy, she found all the bodies the morning after, but since Tommy’s under Yorga’s control now there’s no way in hell he’s gong to back up her story of seeing them. The cops even show up (A very young Craig T. Nelson is in this movie) but the living room is spic and spam clean. No blood, no bodies and oddly the windows that were broken are broken no more.

Like the first flick Roger Perry is the first to pass around the idea of Yorga being a vampire. And this eventually leads to the futile assault, with varying degrees of success, on Yorga’s digs by Perry, Nelson and De Luca. The beats are the same as the first one, someone is sent in to distract Yorga while the others infiltrate his house. Here it’s Reverend Thomas (Tom Toner), and the twist ending from the first is repeated but with a variation.

All good vampires hire a manservant to move around in the day. In the first flick it was this disfigured hulk named, Brudda (Edward Walsh), who was killed. Well, guess what, Brudda is back, looking the same and being played by the same actor. And he’s even killed again. I probably would have appreciated this flick a little more of there was just some linking material to the first.

As mentioned previously The Return Of Count Yorga was previously released by MGM as part of their Midnite Movies line, but whereas Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) got a solo release before hand, the sequel was only released later in 2005 as a double feature with the first one. On October 13th Scream Factory (Shout! Factory’s horror/scifi sublabel) finally gives it the much sought after blu-ray treatment we’ve all been hoping for.

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—English DTS-HD Mono—English subs only

Transfer is an improvement over the Midnite Movies double feature! It looked real good!

Extras include…

  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian Steve Haberman and Actor Rudy De Luca
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • Radio Spots (1:36)
  • Photo Gallery (3:24)

The commentary was very informative. Haberman even touches upon Count Yorga, Vampire and The Deathmaster (1972). Concerning Deathmaster, I had always known Quarry had made a movie called, The Deathmaster, but until recently I never knew it was also a vampire movie where he played the lead vampire. On the off chance we never get a re-release of the DVD or a blu-ray with a commentary his talk of The Deathmaster was informative enough for me. It’s too bad this movie and Twilight Time’s upcoming release of the first Yorga couldn’t have gotten released years earlier, before Quarry died in 2009, otherwise we may have gotten some first hand information about these movies. Regardless, Haberman does his best relating his research about it and at least they managed to get an actor from the movie who talked a little bit about his participation.


About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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