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With eerie accuracy, Count Yorga transplants the classic vampire movie from its usually vintage, foreign locales into modern day – as in, 1970 modern day – California.

That changes more than the set dressing. Most vampire films give doubts as to the mythic creature’s reality; that’s standard. Count Yorga has the benefit of hindsight, where the coastal culture is accepting of outside ideas like seances, but sees undead bloodsuckers as going too far.

Count Yorga isn’t drawn out so much as it is purposefully slow

Though the cast is limited aside from Yorga (Robert Quarry), the heroes spend time debating the existence of this supernatural entity. It’s too unreal, a concept for the weak-minded who shared beliefs in werewolves and sea serpents. Society, for them, is too mature and all-knowing to fall for ridiculous fantasy. They reject the idea until it’s no longer possible to.

While the script is typical and execution lower budget, the result proves captivating, especially the suave Yorga expertly hiding his true self. He’s experienced doubters in his extended life, and knows how to shut down the curious until he’s faced with potential death.

Science explains (partly anyway) Yorga’s traces via bloodwork. It’s loose, but sensible. Count Yorga can’t hide behind the towering castle and full moons like predecessors often did. To make Count Yorga eerie is to make it defined, to squelch the dissent toward fantastical ideas in the public that’s shared with the main characters.

Yet, using often classic techniques from Dracula’s brides, to the castle dungeon, to specially lit close-ups, or careful compositions that hide Yorga, there is comfort to this movie. It’s familiar, yet fresh. Fatalist, cruel, and brutal, yet with the patience of something from the 1930s. Count Yorga isn’t drawn out so much as it is purposefully slow, setting mood and tone by taking the appropriate time.

Video

Arrow’s new 2K scan generally looks excellent, if dirty. Scratches and dust frequently spring up in the image, usually minor. A few vertical scratches cause greater issues, if quickly.

Count Yorga’s cinematography veers from exquisitely sharp to wholly out of focus every few seconds. Because of that, it’s difficult to wholly gauge the new master by anything other than those high points. Detail pours out, resolving facial texture galore. Definition remains high, helped by rich, bold color saturation. Primaries glow at their best, and rarely veer from that state.

Superb grain reproduction keeps image consistency intact. That’s a necessity as black levels never reach their deepest density. This means noisy shadows are a constant, but the encode isn’t bothered.

Audio

Adequate mono replicates the cheaper recording methods decently enough. Rougher dialog and distorted orchestration date Count Yorga. There’s likely little to be done given the source materials. The end result is plain, flat, and dry.

Extras

Two commentaries, the first with Tim Lucas, the second with David Del Valle and C. Courtney Joyner. A new video essay comes from critics Heather Drain and Chris O’Neill. Frank Darabont shares his appreciation in an interview. Actor Michael Murphy recalls his involvement in Count Yorga in another newly produced piece. An episode of the Fangirl podcast discusses the project with filmmaker Tim Sullivan. Trailers, radio spots, and an image gallery finish Arrow’s release, which is packaged with the sequel on its own disc.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Count Yorga, Vampire
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Movie

Count Yorga plants the classic screen vampire into modern day California with an evocative slow burn pace.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: