|Love at First Bite|
Susan Saint James
|Distributor:||American International Pictures|
|Released:||13 April, 1979|
|Internet Movie Database entry 0079489|
Love at First Bite is a 1979 comedy horror film directed by Stan Dragoti and written by Robert Kaufman, using characters originally created by Bram Stoker. It stars George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin and Arte Johnson. The original music score was composed by Charles Bernstein. The film's tagline is: "Your favorite pain in the neck is about to bite your funny bone!"
The infamous vampire Count Dracula is expelled from his castle by the Communist government of Romania, which plans to convert the structure into an athletics training facility. The world-weary Count travels to New York City with his bug-eating assistant Renfield and establishes himself in a hotel, but only after a mix-up at the airport causes his coffin to be accidentally sent to be the centerpiece in a funeral at a black church in Harlem.
While Dracula learns that America contains such wonders as blood banks, he also proceeds to suffer the general ego-crushing that comes from modern life in the Big Apple as he romantically pursues flaky fashion model Cindy Sondheim, whom he has admired from afar and believes to be the current reincarnation of his true love (an earlier being named Mina Harker).
Dracula is ineptly pursued in turn by Sondheim's psychiatrist and quasi-boyfriend Jeffrey Rosenberg. He is the grandson of Dracula's old nemesis Fritz (sic) van Helsing but changed his name to something Jewish "for professional reasons". Rosenberg's numerous methods to combat Dracula - mirrors, garlic, a Star of David (which he uses instead of the cross), and hypnosis - are easily averted by the Count. Rosenberg also tries burning Dracula's coffin with the vampire still inside, but is arrested by hotel security. Subsequently he tries to shoot him with three silver bullets, but Dracula remains unscathed and patiently explains that this works only on werewolves. Rosenberg's increasingly erratic actions eventually cause him to be locked up as a lunatic, but as mysterious cases of blood-bank robberies and vampiric attacks begin to spread, NYPD Lieutenant Ferguson starts to believe the psychiatrist's claims and gets him released.
In the end, as a major blackout hits the city, Dracula flees via taxi cab back to the airport with Cindy, pursued by Rosenberg and Ferguson. The coffin is accidentally sent to Jamaica instead of London and the couple miss their plane. On the runway, Cindy finally agrees to become Dracula's vampire bride. Rosenberg attempts to stake Dracula, but as he moves in for the kill, the two fly off as bats together. A check drops down by which Cindy pays off her (enormous) psychiatry bill to Rosenberg, to which he remarks: "She has become a responsible person ... or whatever." Rosenberg keeps Dracula's cape - the only thing his stake had hit - which Ferguson borrows, hoping (since the cape makes the wearer look stylish) it will help him on his wedding anniversary. The last scene shows Dracula and Cindy, transformed into bats, on their way to Jamaica.