Let me know when Tender Dracula is well done.

The producer of a television program featuring MacGregor (Peter Cushing) is in a snit. MacGregor is the star of a vampire program and he has decided he no longer wants do a horror series; he wants to do sappy romances. He decides to send two inept writers, Alfred (Bernard Menez) and Boris (Stéphane Shandor) to MacGregor’s home. Their orders are to convince the legendary star to change his mind.

The two bumbling idiots take off for MacGregor’s castle in a remote part of Scotland. They take two young actresses with them. Madeleine (Nathalie Courval) and Marie (Miou-Miou). At the castle they meet the butler Abélard (Percival Russel) and MacGregor’s wife (Alida Valli). Apparently, according to MacGregor she was originally Abélard’s wife until his accident and her name was Mabel; MacGregor changed her name to Héloïse as Mabel did not contain the spirit of romance. Or some such nonsense. MacGregor soon makes an appearance.

I believe there’s supposed to be some symbolism involved in the movie. What it is suppose to symbolize I don’t know. The two ‘actresses’ run around naked most of the time, and seem to sing a lot. There’s lots of frolicking by everyone. It’s also dark. Most of the scenes in the castle are lit only by candles, oil lamps and firelight.

At one point the brain damaged butler spanks a chicken. I do not know if France has an organization similar to PETA. If not, they should. At another point MacGregor spanks Marie. Neither spanking helped the movie. It’s bizarre and scattered. Things happen but they don’t make a lot of sense and it’s a little chatty. Most of the time watching it I was going, Huh?

“Tender Dracula” AKA “Confessions of a Blood Drinker”, “Tendre Dracula”, “La Grande Trouille”, “The Big Funk”, “The Big Scare” was released in 1974 and was directed by Pierre Grunstein. The movie is a French comedy horror film. American cartoonist Matt Groening once said; The French are funny, sex is funny, and comedies are funny, yet no French sex comedies are funny.

No one has ever been able to figure out why Cushing ever decided to do this movie. Or Alida Valli for that matter, who is a decent actress in her own right. She’s worked with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Frank Sinatra, Alfred Hitchcock and many more.

It’s the only film in which Cushing dons a cape and fangs to play a vampire himself. And that’s probably its only claim to fame. There is speculation that Cushing’s character was actually a vampire playing an actor playing a vampire. Trust me, it doesn’t matter.

Is there anything good about this movie? Cushing and Valli do their best to act their brains out despite this… movie. Plus it’s rare and difficult to find. Other than that you would only want it if you’re a completist of all things Peter Cushing.