In modern-day Los Angeles, Donna (Donna Anders) and a group of friends attend a séance conducted by Count Yorga (Robert Quarry) – a recent arrival from Bulgaria – to make contact with Donna’s recently deceased mother (who was also Count Yorga’s lover).
Not only is the devilishly clever and sophisticated Yorga a vampire, he is also an accomplished hypnotist and possesses the power to command beautiful women under his spell to do his will.
Paul (Michael Murphy) and Erica Landers (Judith Lang) drive Yorga home to his isolated mansion after the seance.
The next day, they have no recollection from the previous night and Erica has lost blood and appears to have “iron deficiency anaemia”.
Family friend Dr Jim Hayes (Roger Perry) sees Erica devouring the family cat and suspects that Count Yorga is actually a vampire.
Paul goes to Yorga’s house – where the Count sleeps in a super quilted satin coffin and his scantily-clad female vampire victims sleep on marble slabs until the master calls them into action – to investigate but disappears.
When Donna also disappears, Dr Jim and Donna’s protective boyfriend Mike (Michael Macready) arm themselves with crucifixes and wooden stakes and set out to hunt down the Count.
Writer/director Bob Kelljan freshens up the vampire genre very well in this American International Pictures film, produced on a shoestring budget. The film had originally been envisaged as a softcore picture but a decision was made to cut out most of the sex and produce a straight horror film instead.
Despite dying at the end of the film (oops – spoiler, sorry), Yorga came back to life in The Return of Count Yorga (1971). Robert Quarry starred again, with Roger Perry also returning, but as a completely different character.
Dr James ‘Jim’ Hayes
Michael ‘Mike’ Thompson