Love at First Bite (1979)

“What is it that causes you to behave with such rampant promiscuity?”

Love At First Bite is one of the best comedy films from the 70s, and it remains remarkably undated. The film’s romance between Count Dracula and hardened, jaded model Cindy Sondheim is set perfectly against the disco nightlife of the times. The result is a witty film with high camp overtones.

After being evicted from Transylvania, a very dapper Count Dracula (George Hamilton) decides to visit New York to meet model Cindy Sondheim (Susan Saint James). Accompanied by his underling, the insect-noshing Renfield (Arte Johnson), Dracula woos Cindy, but he’s hampered by her psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffery Rosenberg (Richard Benjamin)–who just happens to be a descendant of vampire-killer Van Helsing. The film works so well for two reasons–the characterizations are all excellent. The four main characters are perfectly cast, and they are extremely funny. However, there’s also a very subtle undercurrent to the film–here’s Dracula–literally thousands of years old loose in New York. But he’s more innocent and naive than jaded pill-popping Cindy whose jet set life has removed her from joy, romance, and excitement. Instead she relies on alcohol, and “quickies” for temporary thrills. Ironically, she has to leave her chaotic reality and ‘join’ Dracula in order to be saved from herself and from the impermanent society she lives in.

Unfortunately for the DVD, one of the film’s best sequences–a dance scene that is accompanied by the song: I Love the Night Club has been replaced with some horrible tepid song. Funnily enough, the film’s trailer–included on the DVD–includes a portion of this scene–with the original music. Very frustrating….While this edit didn’t ruin the film, it was a severe disappointment. From director Stan Dragoti.

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