The Return of Count Yorga (1971) starring Robert Quarry, Marietta Hartley, Craig T. Nelson
The Return of Count Yorga is one of those few sequels that is superior to the original film — in this case, Count Yorga, Vampire. The acting is, for the most part, better and the characters are at least as interesting.
Synopsis of The Return of Count Yorga
The Return of Count Yorga begins with a young boy playing with a ball outside — when he encounters several vampiresses. While running from them, the runs directly into the arms of Count Yorga. The scene then cuts to an orphanage, where a costume party for the adults who work at the orphanage is under way, and Count Yorga arrives. He introduces himself as the orphanage’s new neighbor, having bought the neighboring mansion. He runs into Cynthia Nelson (Mariette Hartley), and immediately begins to have a strange feeling towards her — love? But a centuries-old vampire expresses “love” differently than his “beloved” would like …
Count Yorga: Cynthia, I have survived many, many years. Now you appear. A most fragile emotion known has entered my life. And I must fear the most, for it will surely threaten my ability to survive. You, Cynthia, have brought to my life a gentle pain I can only define as love. Can you love me?
Strange way to court a woman …
Count Yorga begins by massacring Cynthia’s family, turning the females into vampires and killing the males. The next morning, a deaf woman from the orphanage named Jennifer (Yvonne Wilder) walks in and discovers the carnage, and the only survivor. Tommy (Philip Frame), the young boy from the beginning of the movie. They run to the orphanage and contact the police; when the police arrive, however, there is no sign of anything wrong: no corpses, no broken windows, and Tommy claims that the rest of the family simply left on a trip, and doesn’t know when Jennifer is talking about.
In the meantime, Count Yorga has kidnapped Cynthia, hypnotized her to forget her family’s slaughter, and trust the Count … while he keeps her an unwitting prisoner and tries to court her, her friends are trying to rescue her …
Review of The Return of Count Yorga
On the whole, I enjoyed The Return of Count Yorga more than the original film. The acting of Robert Quarry is much better … when he’s interacting with Marietta Hartley. When he’s attacking in vampire mode, the acting is so overblown, hammy and cheesy that it’s laughable, and not frightening at all. The other actors do a good job — special mention goes to Yvonne Wilder, who communicates non-verbally throughout the film. Her character seemed very real — when she first encounters the massacre of her friends, she reacts realistically, including trying to scream. Later in the film, when her lifeless body is found, everyone felt the loss.
Roger Perry plays the same role as in the original film — the modern doctor who is quick to believe in vampirism — but in a different role, as his original character is dead. Craig T. Nelson makes his acting debut here as one of the investigating police and does his role well.
Overall I found The Return of Count Yorga to be better than the original, although the ending was forced and didn’t fit. I rate it 3 stars out of 5.
Editorial review of The Return of Count Yorga, courtesy of Amazon.com
A horrifying love story — with bite!
When the overlord of the damned rises again to prowl the shadows, who will stand against The Return Of Count Yorga? Robert Quarry is back as one of the most dapper vampires to ever set up shop in California in this thrilling sequel that really raises the stakes. Revived by the well-known supernatural properties of the Santa Ana winds, our undead leading man takes to the streets with an unquenchable thirst. In search of new blood, Yorga moves next door to an orphanage. But when he crosses paths with a beautiful young woman, the Count’s thoughts turn to love. Has the ruler of the night finally found the girl with whom he can share eternity?
Featuring Mariette Hartley, Roger Perry and Craig T. Nelson in his screen debut, this biting vampire flick will thrill you horror fans … Yorga-nna love this one.