Lady Dracula (1977)

Rating: C+

Dir: Franz Josef Gottlieb
Star: Brad Harris, Evelyne Kraft, Theo Lingen, Eddi Arent

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a horror film, despite the presence of Dracula, in a prologue set in 1876, and the discovery of a coffin containing his offspring a century later. It’s really more light comedy with a vampire background. The coffin is sold to an antiques dealer who becomes the first victim of Barbara (Kraft). She then gets a job on the night shift as a mortician, a position which gives her access to adequate blood to (mostly) sate her hunger, but a police inspector (Harris) meets and falls for her, while simultaneously investigating the deaths for which she is responsible.

In an entirely unrelated subplot, her employer, Herr Marmorstein (Lingen) falls meets rich widow, and they exchange wills, each making each other the beneficiary. When Barbara takes the widow for a late-night snack, suspicion naturally falls on Marmorstein, especially since his tale of seeing Barbara turn into a bat and fly off isn’t exactly the stuff of credible reporting. Gottlieb’s resume contains titles such as Swedish Wife Exchange Club and The Erotic Adventures of Hansel and Gretel, but this is entirely PG-rated. Kraft has an innocence about her that’s somewhat touching: she doesn’t like to kill, and seeks out alternatives wherever possible.

The humour is largely of the broad kind, such as a pair of incompetent undertakers who keep losing or dropping their subjects, though I did like Arent as cop sidekick, Eddi – he seemed to have a better sense of comedic timing than some of the actors. There’s not a lot of consistency here: Barbara doesn’t age for the hundred years she’s been buried, but after popping out as the schoolgirl she was when bitten (played by Marion Kracht, who’d be one of Nastassja Kinski’s colleagues in Passion Flower Hotel the next year), she immediately ages a decade on biting her first victim. While the usual rules, e.g. garlic, crosses, apply, the ending is more a punchline than anything coherent. Overall, it’s pretty forgettable stuff, certainly, though I was lightly amused and adequately entertained by the nonsense.