Sunday, October 24, 2021

Blood for Dracula – Severin Films (4k UHD/Blu-ray/CD Combo)

Theatrical Release Date: Italy/France, 1974
Director: Paul Morrissey
Writers: Paul Morrissey, Pat Hackett, Bram Stoker
Cast: Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, Vittorio De Sica, Maxime McKendry, Arno Jürging, Milena Vukotic, Dominique Darel, Stefania Casini, Silvia Dionisio, Roman Polanski

Release Date: November 30th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 103 Minutes 6 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 2160 Progressive / HEVC / H.265 / HDR10
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $59.95

"Desperate for virgin blood, Count Dracula - Kier in the performance Flavorwire calls "one of cinema's Top 5 best Draculas" - journeys to an Italian villa only to discover the family's three young daughters are also coveted by the estate's Marxist stud (Joe Dallesandro of Morrissey's FLESH, TRASH and HEAT)." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5 (4K UHD), 4/5 (Blu-ray)

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "scanned uncut in 4K from the original negative for the first time ever."

Blood for Dracula comes on a 66 GB dual layer 4K UHD.

Disc Size: 47.4 GB

Feature: 46.6 GB

Blood for Dracula comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 44 GB

Feature: 19.3 GB

The source used for this transfer looks immaculate. 

The 4K UHD’s transfer looks exquisite, colors are nicely saturated, flesh tones look correct, image clarity, contrast, shadow detail and black levels look solid throughout, grain remains intact and I did not notice any compression related issues.

Though the Blu-ray uses the same source for its transfer, the result is a transfer that looks noticeably different in some areas. Most notably, the colors are not as vibrant and there are some compression related issues.

It should be noted, though, that the screenshots give you a good indication of how the 4K UHD and Blu-ray look. The 4K UHD screenshots do not fully show how impressive this looks in HDR.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles). The audio is in excellent shape, dialog always comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, ambient sounds are well-represented and the score sounds robust.

Extras:

Extras for this release are spread over three discs.

Extras on the 4K UHD disc include Blood for Dracula trailer #1 (3 minutes 23 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles) and Blood for Dracula trailer #2 (1 minute 55 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles).

Extras on the Blu-ray disc include Blood for Dracula trailer #1 (3 minutes 23 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), Blood for Dracula trailer #2 (1 minute 55 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with producer Andrew Braunsberg titled The Roman Connection (23 minutes 26 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with composer Claudio Gizzi titled Sad, Romantic Dracula (19 minutes 43 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with 'Murderous Passions' author Stephen Thrower titled The Blood of These Whores… (20 minutes 2 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with art director Gianni Giovagnoni titled Black Cherry (26 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with assistant director Paolo Pietrangeli titled Bloodthirsty (14 minutes 38 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an audio interview with actress Milena Vukotic titled Conversation with a Vampire (18 minutes 50 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian with removable English subtitles), an interview with actor Joe Dallesandro titled Little Big Joe (28 minutes 14 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an interview with actor Udo Kier titled Blood For Udo (18 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo German with removable English subtitles), an interview & location visit with actress Stefania Casini titled Rubinia's Homecoming (17 minutes 59 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo Italian and English with non-removable English subtitles for Italian), an interview with director Paul Morrissey titled Trans-Human Flesh and Blood (35 minutes 35 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles) and a Easter Egg extra, an archival interview with second unit director Antonio Margheriti (5 minutes 16 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with non-removable English subtitles).

The third disc is a CD that contains Claudio Gizzi’s thirty track score for Blood for Dracula.

Also, included with this release is a cardboard insert with a track listing for Claudio Gizzi’s score. 

Summary:

Though there have been numerous adaptations and/or films loosely based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula. When it comes to the character of Dracula, there is a preconceived idea of how Dracula should look and sound. That said, most films featuring Dracula tend to stay close to this preconceived idea of Dracula. There are a few films that think outside the box; case in point, Paul Morrissey’s Blood for Dracula.

Though I had heard about Blood for Dracula, until this release from Severin Films, I had never seen Blood for Dracula. My hesitation when it came to Blood for Dracula is directly related to Andy Warhol's name being attached to them. That said, it quickly becomes clear that Blood for Dracula is nothing like other films that are linked to Andy Warhol.

The first thing that struck me while watching Blood for Dracula was how lyrical the film is.Sure, it has many elements that are synonymous with Dracula, most notably his need for blood. Also, scenes where Dracula feasts on blood are sufficiently gory. With Blood for Dracula, the bloodiest scene is saved for the end.

The most surprising aspect of Blood for Dracula are the performances, especially Udo Kier’s (Mark of the Devil) delirious portrayal of Dracula. He delivers a superb portrayal that’s unlike any Dracula that came before or since. That said, Blood for Dracula has a solid cast who are very good in their respective roles.

From a production standpoint, Blood for Dracula is a film that far exceeds the sum of its parts. The premise of a Dracula in search of virgins is superbly realized, and the simplicity of the story at hand allows the performances to take center stage. Other strengths include Claudio Gizzi’s score that perfectly sets the mood and production design that convincingly creates a tangible world that the story takes place in. Not to be overlooked is Paul Morrissey’s solid direction. Ultimately, Blood for Dracula is a unique cinema experience that either enthralls you or you will quickly tune out.

Severin Films have put together an impressive release that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a ridiculous number of insightful extras. Highly recommended.

                                                               4K UHD screenshot.

                                                              Blu-ray screenshot. 

                                                               4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                Blu-ray screenshot. 

                                                                4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                Blu-ray screenshot.

                                                               4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                 Blu-ray screenshot.

                                                                4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                  Blu-ray screenshot. 

                                                                 4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                   Blu-ray screenshot.

                                                                    4K UHD screenshot.

                                                                      Blu-ray screenshot. 

Written by Michael Den Boer

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