With almost as many canine cast members as human, this is a rare thing: a horror film where it seems as though the pooches have a fighting chance... nay, emerge victorious!
*punches air in freeze frame*
Bitchin' poster, tagline and alternate title! (from here)
Okay, Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, I'm listening.
Well of course it made sense I should watch this. I'd have to be sillier than a box of puppies not to give it a whirl!
Bringing to mind Food of the Gods (thankfully minus the [at least overt] animal cruelty) and countless others, Zoltan is that special kind of 70s "so bad it's good" horror flick. It's one to get the beers and popcorn in for, get some friends round and repeatedly splutter together, at the straight-faced silliness of it all.
So let me introduce you to Zoltan. He's a hellhound Doberman with an intense stare and a pursed lipped, wrinkly-faced master.
Why are you laughing? This is deadly serious!
The plot is simple: hound and half-vampire companion get resurrected and travel to the States to find Count Dracula's ancestor. The guy in question - who is a bit of an annoying dick, actually - is on holiday with his wife, children, family dogs and... a box of puppies.
Puppies! Puppies. How happy was I?!
I think the best way to approach Zoltan is to discuss what we can learn from it. There are an awful lot of lessons here. Very important lessons. Are we ready? Then I shall begin.
When standing guard over a crypt marked with the family name "Dracula", feel free to remove the stake from any of the inhabitants. It's fiiine, go for it.
Make your mouth look like a bum hole when addressing your hellhound.
Putting big fake teeth on a Doberman will suffice in conveying its hellhoundness.
When in the middle of nowhere, let your children, dogs and puppies sleep outside the RV, whilst you cosy up inside.
Puppies can get bitten too :(
My absolute favourite. Take a shot of a dog yawn and with the help of fake blood and canny dubbing, viola! It's a terrifying howl!
Two dogs can tear the shit out of a little wooden hut in a matter of minutes.
The best type of barricade is one comprised of a blanket jammed into an open window. That'll keep the evil out!
A severed owl head = bad omen. Obviously.
Okay I may have completely lost the already skittish thread by the end, there.
What isn't pictured:
- Hurling a dog at someone from off screen is the same as the dog leaping of its own accord (couldn't cap this as it was too blurry/I was laughing too much).
- All of the dogs in the film will have the same two dubbed barks; hey, why not bung some elephant and chimp sounds into the mix, too?
So then, file this one under "chortles rather than screams" - but there's nothing wrong with that! The beauty of this genre we all love so much is that it happily encompasses both.
Right, I'm off to throw some dogs...