‘Zoltan, Hound of Dracula’ (1978) review

29 Aug

Firstly, I would like to start off by saying that contrary to a belief that some of you may uphold, I do not relate everything back to sex. However, watching 1978 release Zoltan, Hound of Dracula was like having a really bad orgasm. Ninety minutes of a dull plateau of feeling with no final pay off. Zoltan , you have some serious making up to do…

The title is pretty self explanatory. Zoltan is Dracula’s old pet dog. Buried in an underground chamber for years, inside a coffin with a stake through its heart, Zoltan is magically bought back to life when a stupidly curious Russian decides to remove the stake from its chest. A re-animated Zoltan then brings back to life his old owner, the innkeeper Veidt Smith, and the two go hunting for the last descendent of Dracula so they can finally serve their master again.

Cue one seriously long boat trip to the States in search of Michael Drake, Dracula’s last remaining descendent. Nalder and Zoltan follow Drake and his family on their camping holiday into a wood and then go about terrorising the fuck out of them. Zoltan, like a charismatic Evangelical preacher, enlists a group of other dogs belonging to fellow campers into doing his bidding, becoming a pack of maniacal, rabid hounds.

And then things start to go a bit downhill. Firstly, Zoltan kills a puppy belonging to Drake. Normally I would be fine with this fictional act but watching this film on the year anniversary of losing your very first pet which you grew up with, Zoltan really pissed me off. You kill a puppy, you kill my interest. Minus one point for the film. Lesson learnt for me.

Secondly, nothing else really happens. What could be a really tight final act, filled with blood and guts and scare tactics just turns into a boring mess. It’s nothing you haven’t seen in the film already, no matter how many more dogs Zoltan bites and brainwashes (or should that be bloodwashes?). Not even the fluorescent green eyes of the canine characters, glowing more brightly then any glowstick you might see at a trippy rave, and incredibly bad fake vampire fangs could keep me interested. Let’s not even get me started on the wooden (geddit? Wooden, stake… sorry…) acting on all fronts, especially Reggie Nalder as Smith who looks more like a creepy reanimated paedophile zombie hiding out in big bushes then someone trying to bring back the Dracula clan or whatever it is that he’s actually meant to be doing. All he ever seems to do is have teenage temper tantrums with his dog… Minus another three points for the feature. And then there’s the ending. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more anticlimactic in my life. It really is as if they just stopped caring. Another point gone.

I will give it one plus point. The sound design is great. Zoltan sounds, most of the time, terrifying, a mix of fighting racoons, angry pigs, snarling wolves and roaring bears. The rest of the time he sounds like Chewbacca trying to take a shit. Well, the film was never going to be perfect was it…

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