Severin has been on a roll with Jesus Franco films this year, releas­ing impres­sive blu-rays of Vampyros Lesbos and She Killed In Ecstasy and even bring­ing Devil Hunter into the world of high-def cin­e­ma. The final mon­th of 2015 has brought one more Franco big­gie from the Severin crew in the form of Count Dracula, the last of Franco’s films with Harry Alan Towers. Like the Vampyros and She Killed discs, this is a deluxe pre­sen­ta­tion stacked with plen­ty of frills.

CounDrac-bluThe main fea­ture is pre­sent­ed in a 1.33:1 ratio that rep­re­sents the director’s pre­ferred fram­ing and is uncut, with the infa­mous “baby scene” restored. Though the film was often mat­ted dur­ing its the­atri­cal run, the fram­ing used here looks accu­rate. Colors are pret­ty strong and the source mate­ri­al looks good while detail is strongest in the close­ups (check out Mondo Digital’s assess­ment for more tech­ni­cal specifics).

The mono English dub is pre­sent­ed in LPCM form here and sounds pret­ty good for a hasti­ly-made vin­tage dub — fans will be hap­py to know that Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom did their own dub­bing here.

Severin Films has gone all-in on the extras here. The pack­age begins in a suit­ably deluxe fash­ion with an HD pre­sen­ta­tion of Cuadecuc Vampir, an exper­i­men­tal qua­si-doc­u­men­tary shot on the set of Count Dracula by Pere Portabella. It mix­es alter­na­tive angles shot con­cur­rent­ly with the main unit footage of Count Dracula with behind-the-sce­nes footage. Most of it is pre­sent­ed with sparse sound effects or music but stick around for a fun bit at the end where Lee is cap­tured talk­ing about Dracula. The visu­al qual­i­ty is pret­ty good, CounDrac-vhs1par­tic­u­lar­ly when you con­sid­er the use of extreme high-con­trast pho­tog­ra­phy in spots.

Next up is an audio com­men­tary for Count Dracula fea­tur­ing star Maria Rohm and mod­er­a­tor David Del Valle. The two estab­lish a nice rap­port as Rohm dis­cuss­es her his­to­ry with Franco, her thoughts on his work and eccen­tric ways plus some inter­est­ing thoughts about how she con­sid­ered her film work a way of fight­ing sex­u­al repres­sion. Del Valle keeps her going with ques­tions and offers crit­i­cal thoughts as well as his­tor­i­cal info on Dracula and its many adap­ta­tions.

A 26-min­ute inter­view with Franco is car­ried over from the film’s Dark Sky DVD release. It’s a typ­i­cal­ly opin­ion­at­ed and irrev­er­ent chat with Uncle Jess in which he offers an overview of the film­ing, his opin­ion of Towers and his thoughts on the cast, includ­ing an amus­ing assess­ment of Klaus Kinski. Towers also pops up briefly in this piece.

A pair of cast inter­views fol­low. Jack Taylor appears in a 10-min­ute sit­down where he wax­es nos­tal­gic about the adven­ture of work­ing with Franco but takes excep­tion to the sex­u­al explic­it­ness of his lat­er work. He also talks about his work with Roman Polanski on The Ninth Gate. Fred Williams pops up for a 26-min­ute chat where he talks about the inti­mate, tight-knit qual­i­ty of a Franco film crew, offers a pret­ty scathing assess­ment of Towers as well as frank thoughts and a few fun­ny anec­dotes about his cast­mates. He’s not afraid to crit­i­cize Franco’s eccen­tric, some­times abu­sive ways and CounDrac-vhs2recounts a 2001 reunion with the direc­tor that is briefly shown via a few video clips.

Director Christophe Gans offers a near­ly 8 min­ute appre­ci­a­tion of the film, cov­er­ing a lot of ground in a brief time as he gets into the par­tic­u­lars of Franco’s style and offers an inter­est­ing the­o­ry about why Franco and Kinski got along so well. Lee fans will be pleased by the appear­ance of an 84-min­ute audio seg­ment of the actor read­ing from Dracula. He gives it the brio that hor­ror fans will expect.

The pack­age is round­ed out by four alter­na­tive titles sequences and a trail­er. The titles sequences show the German, French, Italian and Spanish ver­sions of the open­ing cred­its. The trail­er was cre­at­ed for the German mar­ket and is cut togeth­er in a flashy, pop-goth­ic way, com­plete with play­ful­ly creepy nar­ra­tion, and it makes the film look like a Hammer pro­duc­tion!

In short, Franco fans are like­ly to be hap­py with Severin’s work here, par­tic­u­lar­ly with the gen­er­ous array of bonus fea­tures.

To read Schlockmania’s film review of Count Dracula, click here.