Il cav. Costante Nicosia demoniaco ovvero: Dracula in Brianza (1975)

Better known as Dracula in the Provinces, this 1975 film was directed by Lucio Fulci four years before Zombi would change his fortunes and anoint him the Godfather of Gore. Made directly after The Four of the Apocalypse, which is as dark as it gets, this is an example of the comedic side of Fulci and would be among his favorite movies.

It was written by Sergio Corbucci’s brother Bruno (who directed The Cop in Blue Jeans and Miami Supercops) and Mario Amendola (who wrote The Great Silence), along with help from Pupi Avati (The House with the Laughing WindowsZeder), Enzo Jannacci (a cardiologist by day and one of the most important creative forces in Italian rock ‘n roll by night) and Giuseppe Viola.

Costante Nicosia (Lando Buzzanca, who was in two James Tont movies) is a businessman who married for wealth, inheriting a toothpaste factory and a local basketball team. He’s also a horrible person, abusing his employees and taking particular delight in attacking Peppino, a hunchback whose hump is rubbed daily for luck. And he’s so superstitious that a black cat in his path means finding a virgin to urinate on broken glass, which I’ve never heard of before, but sure, I guess.

He also hates his wife Mariu (Sylva Koscina, Deadlier Than the Male), her family and her brother, whose lazy work ethic leads to a firing which ends up having an aunt curse Nicosia. This will come to haunt him, as a plane ride to Romania introduces him to Count Dragalescu (John Steiner), whose castle will end up where Nicosia will cavort with three of the count’s naked girlfriends and wake up in bed next to the naked noble.

Now, Nicosia is not only a vampire, he’s also become a homosexual. For an Italian man in 1975, this had to have been quite a curse. Not even a magician (Ciccio Ingrassia of the comedy duo Franco and Ciccio) can cure him. The only way that he can escape is to rehire the brother-in-law. But what happens if he accepts his thirst for blood?

Fulci also made another comedy, The Eroticist, with Buzzanca, in which he was a man compelled to punch women’s rear ends. This time, he just takes a bit out of Koscina’s.

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