Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula (reviewed by Lisa Marie Bowman)

Tomorrow, a film called Dracula Untold will be released into theaters.  Dracula Untold provides an origin story for everyone’s favorite vampire and you better believe that I’m planning on seeing it.  After all, it’s October and I love vampires!  Now that Twilight is finished and True Blood is off the air, I have get my vampire fix somewhere, right?

However, before seeing the latest film about Dracula, let’s take a quick look at a Dracula film about which you may not know.  Were you aware that Dracula owned a dog?  And that dog was a vampire?  And that dog’s name was Zoltan?

It’s true!  Or, at least, it’s true according to a low-budget 1977 film called Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula.

Zoltan opens with a bunch of Russians unearthing an underground tomb that, we’re told, once housed Dracula.  Inside the tomb, they find two coffins.  One contains a man with a stake in his chest.  The other contains the body of a dog that has a stake in its chest.  Foolishly, the Russians remove the stakes and bring back to life both Zoltan and Veidt Smit (played by a very creepy-looking actor named Reggie Nalder, who also played the vampire in the made-for-tv adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot).  Veidt is a former servant of Dracula who can walk around in the daylight.  As for Zoltan — well, he’s Dracula’s dog.  His eyes glow.  He has gigantic fangs.  He’s a vampire dog!

It turns out that, in order to survive, Veidt and Zoltan have to find the last human descendant of Dracula and turn him into a vampire.  So, Veidt and Zoltan had to Los Angeles and start to stalk family man Michael Drake (Michael Pataki).  Drake (and yes, his last name was shortened from Dracula) has little knowledge of his heritage.  Oddly enough, we’re told repeatedly that he’s the last member of the Dracula bloodline but he has two kids so it seems like they would actually be the last descendants of Dracula and…

Oh, who cares!?  Why are we worrying about logic when it comes to reviewing a film called Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula?

Michael and his family leave Los Angeles so that they can spend the weekend at a campground and, needless to say, they are followed by Zoltan and Veidt.  Soon, Zoltan is turning every other dog in California into a vampire and chasing Michael and his family.

Fortunately, a vampire hunter (played by Jose Ferrer) shows up and offers to help Michael survive.  But will his help be enough?

Okay, so Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula is technically a pretty bad film.  The budget is very low.  Director Albert Band doesn’t really bother much with things like subtext or suspense.  With the exception of the genuinely intimidating Reggie Nadler, the actors pretty much just go through the motions.  But, with all that in mind — how can you not love a film called Zoltan, the Hound of Dracula?  It’s fun because the film is just so ludicrous.  Criticizing a film like this for being bad ultimately feels like being way too much of a scold.  This is one of those films were you just have to sit back and appreciate the fact that an enterprising filmmaker named Albert Band not only had the idea to make a movie about a vampire dog but that he also went ahead and did it.

Way to go, Albert Band!

Add to that, there’s a vampire puppy!  And yes, he is just adorable!

The main question I have is whether or not Zoltan will make an appearance in Dracula Untold.  Let’s hope so!  He may have been a vampire but seriously, Zoltan was a good dog.

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