Nocturna (1979)

R   |    |  Comedy, Horror

Nocturna (1979) Poster

Dracula's granddaughter falls in love with a disco guitarist and runs away to New York City with him.


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3 April 2004 | Squonkamatic
Actually, it DID have a home video release.
Amazingly, Media Entertainment DID release NOCTURNA to home video one time in 1982 as a rental-only item: at the time the tape would have set a store back about $145 ... I found one for about fifty, but I collect these things like old men collect stamps & am a nut. There are some underground outlets that will have recordings of it for about $15 - $20, though do not expect surround sound quality audio, and yes there are probably people who would want this movie just for the musical angle: other than the soundtrack from the film some of these songs may be utterly unavailable, and one or two are performed live on camera.

And I delightfully agree with all of the other commentors: this is a film that could easily be re-discovered & made into an instant Midnight Movies circuit hit. The soundtrack is a disco lovers dream come true, with some interesting jams you won't find on those Rhino Records CD sets with Disco Hits of the 70's; this stuff was pretty much made for the film, and as such is the reason why the film went out of print almost immediately: Royalty issues. There are acts from like three different record lables on the soundtrack and that leads to legality issues when re-releases are sought -- the copyrights for the songs may be unattainable for licensing, a problem with a number of favorites [LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH & TERROR TRAIN being the most well known examples] that are long overdue for re-examination by the culture which spawned them.

Tis a shame: this is one of the few really watchable fangers from this period of time. VAMPIRE HOOKERS is what those schooled in the genre usually think of when you mention late 70's, and while his rheumatism may have gotten worse, the great John Carradine nicely makes up for his role in that debacle with his few scenes. Nai Bonei is of course a marvel to behold, and yes, her bathtub & subsequent scented oiling is reason in itself to seek this one out, though I am drawn to the color & lighting schemes, which have a very "NYC" look to them. Nai also smokes a joint, by the way, and it is odd how the way drug use in movies have changed since 1979: she is actually allowed to enjoy it. Imagne that!

I dunno about the disco dancing segments though: I would have been all of 12 in 1979 and never "got" disco. Unlike the clubbing we know these days, disco was a whole subculture, more like the modern country movement, with specific choreography for specific dances or moves that of course look silly, but are presented with such a tunneled vision that the film becomes about 1979, not just made in 1979, and one of the things that I like to look for in Vampiralia is seeing the conventions & trappnigs of the genre re-defined, and if it took disco dancing vampires to do it for 1979 well whatever.

NOCTURNA may be silly, but is FAR more watchable than that wretched DRACULA with Frank Langella, made the same year, or the excereble VAMPIRE HOOKERS with it's flatulence jokes, gay jokes, Filipino jokes and John Carradine in a white Ugly American silk suit. I'll take the bell bottomed vampires over that junk anyday. Hell some of them a brothers too, and soul food vampires sounds like a pretty cool idea, as long as we're remaking STARSKY & HUTCH and all. I wish more time had been spent on Nocturna's vampirism and less on her quest to find a really good party to dance at, but girls will be girls, and while narcissitic to say the least, Nai Bonei does appear to know how to have a good time, and I always liked girls who liked to party. Especially when they willingly strip down to their bikini's for an attention grabber.

Expect whatever recording you find of NOCTURNA to have some wear just before & after Nai's bath scene; it really is somethin' else, and I've sat through a lot of this stuff. For something to evoke that kind of a reaction from a mind as rotted by filth as mine is remarkable. Worth every penny of my $50 bucks.

*** out of a possible ****

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