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Return Of Count Yorga, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Return Of Count Yorga, The



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: October 13th, 2015.
    Director: Bob Kelljan
    Cast: Roger Perry, Robert Quarry, Mariette Hartley, Tom Toner
    Year: 1971
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Bob Kelljan's follow up to his original Count Yorga (made for American International Pictures a year prior) once again stars the late, great Robert Quarry in the title role. When the film beings, Count Yorga is living outside of San Francisco in a quiet town where he winds up getting involved with a local orphanage run by Cynthia Nelson (Mariette Hartley) and Reverend Thomas (Tom Toner). He's not doing this out of the goodness of his heart, mind you, but instead using it as a convenient source of sustenance.

    He accomplishes this when the orphanage holds a costume party that he attends and while nobody really seems to know who this strange man is, they're friendly enough to him, particularly Cynthia. She is attracted to the stranger and it would seem the attraction is mutual much to the dismay of her fiancé, David (Roger Perry). As she falls further under Yorga's spell, David starts to put two and two together and realizes that Yorga is indeed an actual vampire. Getting the local authorities to believe him, let alone do something about it, however… that's a whole different ball game.

    This second Yorga film (a third was planned but never made) doesn't reinvent the wheel but it does what it does quite well, and that's to allow leading man Robert Quarry the chance to strut his stuff. His Yorga can be quite fierce at times, the camera accentuating these primal traits more than once by shooting him straight on almost as if he were in the sites of a rifle, but it's really Quarry's screen presence that makes the biggest impression. The guy had class and style but so too did he have an ominous and dark tone to his persona, at least on camera. This makes him quite well suited to playing a part such as this and here he makes the most of it.

    The supporting cast is also fun. Mariette Hartley is just plain charming as Cynthia, as attractive in the part as she is endearing. You can see why Yorga might take a liking to her and want to induct her into his own personal harem, and if her naí¯veté is a vampire movie cliché, well, at least she plays it well. Tom Toner is decent in his supporting role as the kindly priest and if Roger Perry (who was in the first movie but playing a completely different character) isn't the world's most dashing hero, he too does just fine here.

    Actor turned director Bob Kelljan, who would soon direct Scream Blacula Scream and Act Of Vengeance (better known as motherfucking Rape Squad!) knows how to pace a movie well and this picture is proof positive of that. The film goes at a good pace, it's never dull, and even when it does occasionally slow down Quarry is able to carry it and Kelijan is willing to let him. The cinematography is nice and often quite atmospheric and the effects work is even occasionally a bit creepy. Toss in an interesting score from composer Bill Marx and some effective humor that never once feels out of place and this one, if not all that original, does prove to be both well-made and ridiculously entertaining.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Return Of Count Yorga arrives on Blu-ray in a new AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 and for the most part looking quite good. There are some scenes that look a bit soft and a few spots where you might spot some minor compression artifacts but these are never serious problems. Skin tones look good while black levels are nice and deep. Detail is pretty solid throughout. There's nothing in the way of serious print damage to note, just the occasional minor speck, while grain looks nice and natural here. Compared to the DVD, this is a very nice upgrade.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono mix is also fine. Dialogue is clean, clear and properly balanced for the most part, while the score and the effects work have good depth to them. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and the score has some impressive strength to it when the movie calls for it. Optional subtitles are provided in English only, there are no alternate language options provided.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary with film historian Steve Haberman and actress Rudy De Luca that covers a lot of ground and holds our attention while doing so. De Luca looks back on the shoot pretty fondly, telling some interesting stories about working with Quarry and the rest of the cast members, discussing the content of the film and her feelings on it, the sets and locations and quite a bit more. This is active, engaging, well-paced and informative.

    Aside from that we get a few radio spots, a TV spot, a theatrical trailer, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    The Return Of Count Yorga occasionally opts to coast on Quarry's screen presence and acting chops but even when it does, he's good enough to make it work. The inspired moments that it does have are pretty memorable and the end result is a wickedly entertaining horror film with some surprisingly effective doses of humor. Shout! Factory's Blu-ray release offers up the movie in very nice shape and with a strong commentary as its main supplement. This is one worth double dipping on and it's a very nice improvement over the old MGM DVD.
    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






















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