Wednesday, November 27, 2013

SON OF DRACULA - Harry Nilsson - "You Can Jump Into The Fire But You'll Never Be Free" (1974)

"Son Of Dracula" is a sad movie, not bad, not good, but a turkey no doubt! If they thought they were making a funny movie, they failed, and if it's supposed to be a serious vampire film, then they failed too!

It seems Ringo wanted to make movies, so what could be better than to have fun, make a movie, and promote your buddy Harry Nilsson at the same time! Too bad it didn't work out that way even though it was directed by Dungeon Super Fave, Freddie Francis!

The 70's were the end of an era for a band called The Beatles! Their last two Billboard Top 100 charted songs were in 1970, "Let It Be,"  and "The Long And Winding Road! The same year, the boys started going out on there own, John Lennon had a top 100 hit with "Instant Karma," and then the following year, George Harrison charted with "My Sweet Lord," Ringo Starr was in the top 100 with "It Don't Come Easy," and Paul McCartney had two less than stunning top 100 hits, "Uncle Albert" and "Another Day!"

In 1972, none of The Beatles charted in the top 100, but Harry Nilsson was in fine form with two hits in the top 100, "Without You," and Coconut!" In 1973 Paul McCartney bounced back with Wings on the hits "My Love" and "Live And Let Die!" In 1974 when this film was made Paul McCartney charted again with "Band On The Run" and "Jet," and Ringo had two more hits with "Sweet Sixteen," and "Oh My My!" It seemed like these guys just couldn't do anything wrong....................but........

.............."Son Of Dracula" proved otherwise!!!

At least they went with the classic "Nosferatu" type of vampire as Dracula!

But..................Ringo Starr as Merlin the Magician! I think that just might have been the straw that broke the camel's back! If the way he looks isn't bad enough, then you've got to know that Ringo has a very recognizable voice, and trust me, it's not the voice of Merlin the Magician! I think that's where the problems begin, and even Ringo agrees that this isn't a very good movie!

One hundred years later, I don't know, what? A child is born, and his name is Count Downe!!

Blast Off!! Dracula is young and looks like Harry Nilsson, and for some reason it looks like his fangs are too close together, like kind of a hillbilly vampire!

Merlin's got the whole thing figured out, the planets are aligned, the celestial hubcaps are all polished, and it's time for the Son Of Dracula to be crowned King of the Underworld!!

"London Calling" circa 1974!

Harry Nilsson performs no less than 7 songs in the movie, and one of them is one of my personal favourite songs of all time, "Jump Into The Fire!" Here's just a taste of the the peripheral mood music by Paul Buckmaster that was used in between Harry's songs! It's pretty intriguing in itself!

Frankenstein and The Wolf Man  along with Lady Dracula are all  invited to to the big coronation!!

Here's the big problem! Count Downe's a nice guy, a musician, and he wants to be normal! He doesn't want to be King of the freakin' evil universe! He wants to hold hands and recite poetry!

 The various band members are some of the finest rock musicians of the time, or any time, really! You've got bassists Klaus Voorman and Herbie Flowers, guitars by Peter Frampton and Chris Spedding, drums pounded by Ringo, John Bonham, Keith Moon, Jim Gordon and Jim Keltner, keyboards by Harry Nilsson and  Nicky Hopkins, and horns by Jim Price and Bobby Keys, and somewhere in there are George Harrison, John Uribe, Jimmy Webb, Leon Russell and Ray Cooper! That is a truly amazing array of talent!

Count Downe's transition into a bat was uniquely different compared to vampires of the past!

The big netherworld inauguration is broken up via a giant cross skylight, and Count Downe gets to live happily ever after with his girlfriend! As far as I know, this movie was never released on DVD. You can thank Professor Grewbeard, wherever he is, for giving me a chance to see it!

More weirdness! Only one song on the album "Son Of Schmilsson" was performed in this film, but this record does have one other classic cut on it, "You're Breaking My Heart (So Fuck You)!"  To hear the studio versions of the songs in this movie, you will need to get "Nilsson Schmilsson," and all of Nilsson's work is avalable at Amazon!


TABONGA! said...

Ringo looks ridiculous!

Grant said...

The question is, since Leon Russell is a musician in the film, would he have made a more convincing Merlin due to his appearance? (There's even a joke about that in the MST3K version of the movie SANTA CLAUS, where one of the comedians calls Merlin by that name.)

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Good point Grant, Leon would have definitely been a better choice, but then it was Ringo's movie! No matter what they could possibly do to Ringo, he's still going to look and sound like Ringo! One of the guys from ZZ Top would have even been a better choice!

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