From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Love At First Bite (1979)

It’s almost October and that means we are so close to Halloween 2022 and I have to bring you readers and friends another Countdown To Halloween update and of course that also means another “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update and for this one I choose one of my favorite Horror Comedy films that I have enjoyed sense I was a kid and was even released the year I was born in 1979, a film that spoofs Count Dracula and I am talking about Love At First Bite a super silly, super fun look at Dracula coming to New York. And something I am sure many of you are not aware of is that Love At First bite was given the Photo Comic treatment in a paperback book, and that’s what we will be reviewing! So if you are ready lets put on our best cape, slick back our hair and head to a New York dance club and see what Count Dracula is up to as I proudly bring to you From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Love At First Bite!

Love At First Bite 1

Lets take a look at the one and only Count Dracula from this film and his way of dealing with humans that cross his path or ones he sets his sights on to become one of his vampire brides. Count Dracula has many ways of dealing with the living like he can change into a bat or dog and cause fear and chaos to those that cross him. He can use his cool and calm voice to help put his victim into a trance and make them do his bidding like fall asleep. He also has the ability to control devises like phones and TVs causing distractions and cutting off those from calling for help. He can call on “The Children Of The Night” like bats, rats and wolves to use against his victims, as he can also call on his faithful butler Renfield to help attack, get information from and subdue the target. He can also use a very powerful breath to push back against attackers as well as keep them off balance making them easier to bite. He has a super charm that makes humans feel at ease as well as draws them to him. And his main way to deal death is via his sharp fangs that he can drain the blood of his victim or even turn said person into a vampire and be under his control. But Dracula does have weaknesses like sunlight that will burn him up, he also can be killed with fire as well as a stake to his heart, he can also be stunned by a cross and garlic as both are very irritating to him. He also is very much out of touch with the times, is egotistical and sarcastic and this also leads him to trouble and can give his attackers a chance to stop him once and for all. Also this version of Count Dracula lacks the killer instinct and makes him less likely to take an innocent life and therefore not a massive threat as all he wants is love from his chosen lady, and that as well is a weakness. While this Count Dracula is not the most dangerous creature I have covered here on Rotten Ink he still is one that can deal death as well as charm the pants off any woman he wants.

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Count Dracula from Love At First Bite is more of a lover then a killer but we have to keep in mind he still is a blood drinking vampire so he is dangerous. Now that we have taken a look at Count Dracula lets now take a look at the movie he is from and I will be taking the films plot from our friends at IMDB and will then write about the films production as well as my thoughts on it. So if you are ready lets take a night on the town with Count Dracula in New York!

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Love At First Bite (1979)

“This vampire spoof has Count Dracula moving to New York to find his Bride, after being forced to move out of his Transylvanian castle. There with the aid of assistant Renfield, he stumbles through typical New York City life situations while pursuing Cindy Soundheim. But her boyfriend, Doctor Jeff Rosenberg, realizes she is under the influence of a vampire, and tries his bumbling best to convince police Lt Ferguson of what is going on, and to help him stop Dracula.”

This Horror Comedy started out when George Hamilton was doing an impression of Bela Lugosi for screenwriter Robert Kaufman and the pair laughed and decided that they should write a Romantic Horror Comedy that was about Count Dracula! The story they created had Count Dracula in New York during the 70’s falling in love with a woman who is engaged. When shopping the script around Melvin Simon was interested and bought the script for $1000,000.00 and while he was only a man who made his money from shopping malls he had a passion for films. Melvin Simon was the money man behind many cult classic films like The Manitou, When A Stranger Calls, The Stunt Man, Zorro The Gay Blade and all three Porky’s films, but later in life Melvin Simon would say producing films was a mistake as he lost millions of dollars doing so. When casting of course actor George Hamilton was hired to play Count Dracula and actress Susan Saint James was hired to play his love Cindy Sondheim and fellow actors Richard Benhamin, Dick Shawn, Arte Johnson and Ralph Manza were brought on to complete the main cast. The director brought on was Stan Dragoti who would go on to direct Mr. Mom and Charles Bernstein was hired to do the score, and he would go on to score such films as The Enity, Cujo, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Deadly Friend, April Fool’s Day and Rumpelstiltskin. The film brought in $43,900,000.00 at the box office on a $3 million dollar budget and was the 13th highest grossing film in 1979 in America. It was released alongside other Horror Movies that year like The Amityville Horror, Phantasm, Tourist Trap, Nosferatu The Vampyre, Alien, Driller Killer and The Brood to name a few. The film was met with mostly positive reviews from critics and fans and was the top grossing indie film until the release of Amityville Horror that same year. The film would gain a following when released on cable and home media and is still well loved by classic Horror Comedy fans to this day.

Love At First Bite no joke was a film that I have loved sense I was a kid and I cannot count how many times I watched it when it aired on HBO or regular TV! I can remember laughing at how silly the film was and this flick also made me a life long fan of actor George Hamilton as he was perfectly silly as Dracula and played the part straight faced for the most part no matter how goofy the world around him started to get. And for years a rumor has been going around that a Love At First Bite sequel was in the works and that George Hamilton got the rights for the film back in 2009 and it would take place in modern times and have Count Dracula going to Hollywood for his sons wedding and meeting the brides family that are TV preachers…sadly as of this update the film has not been made. The scene in Love At First Bite that always gets me is when the character Dr. Jeffrey Rosenberg goes to visit his one time fiancé Cindy Sondheim at her apartment and she tells him that she is marring Count Dracula and were they have registered for wedding gifts and he is a rage is screaming about how they will get nothing from him as he leaves on the elevator, no kidding I laugh every time. Also actor Arte Johnson who plays Renfield does a great job of being creepy, spooky and his laugh is based on Dwight Fryes with a touch of his own style. Richard Benjamin who plays Dr. Rosenberg is hysterical and next to Dracula almost steals the show with his crazy humor. And even Susan Saint James is funny as hell as Cindy Sondheim, and Susan I remember mostly from TV Show “Kate & Allie” as I remember my parents use to watch that one in the 80’s. I think that when it comes to straight Horror Comedies I would place Love At First Bite over such films as Dracula Dead And Loving It, Shaun Of The Dead and Dead Don’t Die but would say its not as funny as Young Frankenstein and Zombieland to name a few on both sides of the fence. If you like Dracula, Horror Comedies, George Hamilton and just having a good time make sure to check out love At First Bite.

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So as you can see Dracula from Love At First Bite is both dangerous as well as humorous and this really is a fun and silly film that I am glad got the Photo Comic treatment so that I can make this From Horror Movie To Horror Comic possible. I would like to also thank an Ebay seller for having this FotoNovel in stock. I would also like to remind you readers that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready lets head to New York and spend some time with Count Dracula.

Love At First Bite Photo Comic 1

Love At First Bite # 1  **1/2
Released in 1979      Cover Price $2.75       Fotonovel      # 1 of 1

Count Dracula is in his castle in Transylvania with his assistant Renfield who delivers the mail including a fashion magazine that has model Cindy Sondheim on the cover and Dracula has fallen in love with her even though he never meet her, but yet maybe he has because her soul is an old one and keeps being reborn! At one point in time Cindy was even Mina Harker and many other loves of Dracula. Later that night Dracula get a visit from the Government who informs him that he must leave his castle as they are taking it over as a training camp for athletes. In two days time Dracula walks to his carriage as the towns people insult him and this forces him to use his breath to keep them at bay. Dracula and Renfield head to New York to find Cindy and while in his coffin in the luggage area Dracula tries to read up on the lingo of the 70’s in order to fit in. And once in New York a mix up happens and Renfield takes the wrong coffin with him to the hotel and Dracula ends up in a church in Harlem and has a run in with some people before finally finding his hotel and Renfield. The next day Renfield gets Cindy’s location from her agent thanks to his pet cobra and Dracula shows up and when held back by the cops as Cindy models he turns into a dog and gets close to her, but it taken to the pound for his efforts. Dracula is depressed as he drank the blood of a drunken homeless man that made him sick and has decided to just give up, that is until Renfield gives him the address of a club that Cindy is at and when meeting her the two fall in love and start an affair as Cindy is the girlfriend of Doctor Jeff Rosenberg who is a descendent of Van Helsing and when he notices the bite on the neck of Cindy he knows he has to stop Dracula before biting two more times as if he does so she will be damned to be a vampire forever. Cindy is in love with Dracula and while at a dinner out Jeff comes along and he and Dracula have a showdown at the dinner table, and their argument leaves Cindy to leave the pair and Jeff alerts Dracula to who is bloodline is. Later that night Dracula comes to Cindy’s apartment and tries to bite her for the second time but sunrise stops him, and this causes Jeff to have to try and get the help from the police and even breaks into Dracula’s hotel room and sets his coffin on fire with him still inside! Jeff is then arrested and taken to an Asylum and once out he tracks down Cindy and Dracula at a restaurant and shoots three silver bullets into the chest of Dracula and this attack fails and causes Cindy to faint and as Jeff is arrested Dracula takes his soon to be bride away and bites her for the second time. Jeff is taken back to the asylum and along with the cops tries to stop Dracula from taking Cindy back to England for the third time, and they even have a run in with Renfield. In the end Jeff confronts Dracula at the airport but before he can drive a stake through his heart Dracula bites Cindy for the third time and the pair turn into bats and fly off into the night as Jeff can do nothing but watch, and well take Dracula’s cape that he left behind.

This is a fun Photo Comic Novel that does a pretty great job of capturing the film’s goofy nature, but in comic form I do have to stress that much of the film’s humor is lost and does not pack the belly laughs. The plot is very simple: Dracula is kicked out of his castle and comes to New York to fund a Super Model he has a love for only to win her heart and must fight off her boyfriend and the cops in order to have his blood drinking happy ending with the love of his afterlife. Count Dracula is a vampire who is sick of being lonely and finds his true love in a model form New York and travels to try and win her heart, and yes along the way drinks a little blood from those who are in his way. He is not pure evil, but does have a little bit of an ego that tends to flare up. Renfield is loyal and dimwitted and does whatever Dracula tells him to do, but also it’s clear that he and Dracula are also friends. Cindy Sondheim is a magazine model who is a party girl who loves the night life and is drawn and falls for Dracula even though she is the on again off again girlfriend of a Van Helsing! And Doctor Jeff Rosenberg is our hero of the story a psychiatrist who is the grandson of Van Helsing and is part crazy, but also will do whatever he can to save his lady from the bite of Dracula, but does also have his folklore mixed up and fails many times to kill Dracula. As I stated before the humor is there, but is a little lost on the pages as the delivery from the actors is lacking. The Horror parts are still intact as they are light hearted to begin with and I do really like the parts in this Photo Comic Novel that has Dracula and Redfield stealing from the blood bank as well as the moment of him waking up in the coffin at the funeral in Harlem. The Photo Comic is bloodless and that’s fine as the film is as well, and for the most part this was a fantastic and fun read and a great way to kick off of Halloween Season for 2022! While elements of the film are missing in order to fit in this comic and at times the story jumps very awkwardly it is a must-read for fans of this very underrated 1979 Horror Comedy film. The cover is very cool and eye catching and the photos used in side are well selected. Give this one a read if you can find it, and check out the photo below to see the style of this Photo Comic Novel.

Love At First Bite Photo Comic Art 1

The Fotonovel version of Love At First Bite is a fun read and while it does not fully capture the silliness of the characters humor and feel of the film fully, it does do a great job of entertaining the reader. I for one would love to see a full comic book done based on the film with a solid artist on board like Jeff Potter, but sadly I don’t think that would ever happen. Well for our next update we will be leaving Count Dracula and New York behind and will be covering something that I have been working on for a very long time and that’s my list of my Top 20 Lost Silent Horror Films! This is something I really have wanted to talk about for so many years now and I think my blog’s 10 Year Anniversary is the perfect time to do so. Plus let’s be honest, it’s a great way to kick off October 2022 and I hope helps bring awareness to these lost films and one day they become found films. So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Comedy or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a talk about Silent Horror Cinema.

Vault Fire Preview 1937 Lost Film Logo

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