Nocturna (1979) Comedy Horror

Nocturna, Dracula's granddaughter, falls in love with a disco guitarist and follows him to the Big Apple, where she takes up residence with Drac's ex. The Count and his lovelorn henchman soon follow to bring Nocturna home to Transylvania. I generally open with a bigger synopsis, but that's how light the film is on story. There are a few run-ins with other characters in various vignette-like sequences, but they don't have a whole lot to do with the plot. However, there's a WHOLE LOT of disco music and shots of Nocturna twirling!

Years ago, someone recommended Nocturna to me and my initial reaction was, "Why'd he think I'd like this? It's awful!" It wasn't until I revisited the movie on a whim that I realized how FASCINATINGLY awful it is. The dialogue is abysmal, the performances are almost universally bad (though the always-delightful Sy Richardson managed to transcend the material a bit), the animated FX are beyond cheesy, the disco sequences seem endless, and a bathing scene drags on past the point of titillation into tedium. However, there's something oddly lovable about this obscurity. Years later, it dawned on me that it's essentially a lower-budget vampire version of "Xanadu": Starcrossed lovers with zero chemistry, a related antagonist who's weak (literally, in this instance), tons of music, some tacky animation, and a few dialogue scenes to loosely tie things together.

I've chronicled the making of the film at length elsewhere (it's become a minor obsession), but allow me to briefly reiterate... This was a star vehicle for bellydancer Nai Bonet, who had appeared in a few films and TV shows in the decade+ preceding Nocturna (she actually wasn't bad in "Soul Hustler"), but her biggest accomplishment was becoming a socialite among the Studio 54 type of crowd. She conceived the idea for the movie, got director Harry Hurwitz to write the script, secured soundtrack music from disco divas Gloria Gaynor and Vicki Sue Robinson (in an odd twist, Robinson went on to star alongside Bonet in her next-and-final film venture, "Hoodlums"), threw a few measly bucks at typecast frequent-costars Yvonne DeCarlo and John Carradine, and got Compass International Pictures to produce and distribute the film. Critics universally panned the movie, audiences generally ignored it, and it only briefly blipped on big screens and video store shelves. Bonet made one final foray into film with a gangster disco-drama(!) she'd conceived and then she retired from acting for good.

If I could pick one largely-unknown film to get a lavish Blu-Ray release, this'd be the one. It's developed a small cult following over the years and it's a travesty that the only prints in circulation are taken from early 1980s VHS transfers. Despite its many, many horrendous flaws, there's something sort of magical about this little disasterpiece. So is anyone from Shout Factory or Scorpion Releasing reading this? Or MST3K/Rifftrax, even? (Brother Theodore could be the next Torgo!)