Schlock du Jour: Dracula of Exarcheia (1983)

“We’re gonna get the sun drunk. We’re gonna get the sun drunk.”

You’ve seen him as a strapping young ladykiller. You’ve seen him as a gruesome old count. Now see him as *checks notes* a band manager?

Yes Dracula’s bloodsucking days are behind him, but what’s to stop him from robbing graves to build a musical act that will be the next big thing?

DRACULA OF EXARCHEIA actually has little to do with Dracula. It has little to do with vampires at all for that matter. When the end credits rolled I had an epiphany that this flick can be taken two different ways. First there is the spellbinding witchery it casts at face value alone that has led to DRACULA OF EXARCHEIA being referred to as the Greek ROCKY HORROR.

A cemetery fulla zombos is tired of Drac snatchin’ em up. So what do they decide to do? Throw a music festival! If they can get Drac’s band to play, this will promote togetherness and unity through zombie awareness, or something!

And that’s exactly what happens, with a detour for Dracula’s daughter to fuck a doll, some loud soup slurping, a giant orgy, a fat mer-man, and then a tragic dive about 55 minutes in where the fourth wall is broken and considerable energy is spent on dull comedy gags, DoE culminates in a redeeming several song concert. The end! I’ve never seen anything quite like this, and it really is all about the music. The score goes to strange and avant-garde places, and the songs performed by Dracula’s band, called “Musical Brigades” kick so much ass. I’m not kidding. It’s greek folk psychedelia and it might be my new favorite thing. And it’s the writer of the music that leads me to the second method of absorbing DoE, and his name is Τζίμης Πανούσης.

If that’s greek to you, don’t worry–It’s greek to everyone. But the English translation is Tzimis Panousis. Along with writing the music for the movie, Panousis is also the band’s singer on screen, and IN REAL FUCKING LIFE. With a little research I discovered that Musical Brigades was an actual band led by Panousis. Why is this crazy? Because it means the entire movie works as the real-life band’s not so real origin story–!!!

The nonsensical lyrics brilliantly communicate the fact that we are watching a band of frankenrockers with no real understanding of life or culture, and that they were created solely for the purpose of rocking.

Aside from all of this it is evident the movie is also acting as a commentary on greek politics and other cultural things I don’t understand, which I can appreciate by just knowing it is there. And while not really a vampire movie, I will sneak DRACULA OF EXARCHEIA into any “favorite vampire movies” lists until I get called out for my shenanigans. I will also be including it in any “favorite feature films depicting the undead origins of greek folk psychedelia bands” lists. Friends, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had by staying home and watching strange movies. Follow my lead will you, until this pandemic thing blows over?


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