The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
Directed by: Bob Kelljan
Written by: Bob Kelljan, Yvonne Wilder
Starring: Edward Walsh, Mariette Hartley, Philip Frame, Robert Quarry, Roger Perry, Tom Toner, Yvonne Wilder
THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971)
Directed by Bob Kelljan
A small community consisting of the local orphanage and church come under threat when it appears a wealthy Count living nearby may be responsible for the disappearance of an entire family. Despite only the witness testimonial of a young boy and a deaf woman, the Priest, a Doctor and the local constabulary decide to investigate.
Despite dying in the first film, Count Yorga is back once more to strip dazzling beauties away from their beaus. This time, however, he does so by instructing his vampiric harem to murder the woman’s family before snatching her. Ensuring that she’s unable to recall the trauma, Yorga hypnotises the young woman Cynthia and convinces her that she became ill and thus decided to look after her until she felt better. Grateful for the Count’s generosity and kindness, Cynthia happily wanders around the Count’s estate, enjoying its luxuries. However, when the time comes to leave, she finds her host rather hesitant and as memories begin to flood back to that awful night, she fears for her safety.
THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA, in many ways, rehashes the story of the first film but adds an extra dimension as we see Yorga hypnotise and use a young boy from the orphanage to his advantage. When Cynthia’s family are murdered and she’s snatched, both little Tommy and deaf helper Jennifer bear witness to the bloody aftermath however it’s only Jennifer who’s prepared to tell the truth about the events. Unfortunately for her, once the police visit the crime scene, there’s not a speck of blood on the carpet and no bodies in sight. A letter from the family saying they had to leave suddenly only reinforces the assumed fact that Jennifer must’ve been dreaming or hallucinating. Tommy’s refusal to back up Jennifer’s statement only serves to make Jennifer look crazy, bringing frustration to the woman, but her friend Reverend Thomas knows that Jennifer would not lie and that there must be some truth to her tale, despite Tommy’s contradicting statement. As the viewer knows that Tommy is essentially a servant to Count Yorga, it’s great to see how the two conflicting interests payoff against one another.
Robert Quarry once again charms as the suave Count Yorga though this time seems more prepared and ruthless than ever – most likely learning from his past mistakes in the first film. Utilising everyone around him, he makes sure everything goes to plan, whether that’s involving the local police or the enquiring mind of his love Cynthia. It seems he will do anything to make Cynthia his but both she and her friends won’t let her go without a fight.
Much like the first movie, THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA still has the campy approach but it’s clear they decided to flesh the film out more than the first with a bigger budget to play with, no doubt. The story is that bit more complex, adding in various layers, though retaining the simple pleasure of the Count hunting his victims. As with Count Yorga, Vampire, there’s plenty of fun to be had with this movie and for vampire lovers, this is a fangtastic little treat.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS FOR ARROW VIDEO BLU-RAY RELEASE:
- High Definition digital transfers of both Yorga films, from original film elements by MGM
- Original mono audio
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary on Count Yorga, Vampire by David Del Valle
- Audio commentary on The Return of Count Yorga by David Del Valle
- Interview with critic and author Kim Newman
- Theatrical trailers
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
- First pressing only: Booklet featuring new writing on the films by Frank Collins