© 1979 Melvin Simon Productions

Love at First Bite (1979)

Love at First Bite follows the adventures of Count Dracula after he is evicted from his castle by the communist Romanian government in order to turn it into an athletic training facility for Nadia Comaneci, and travels to a very ’70s New York, seeking his destiny in the form of Cindy Sondheim, a popular fashion model. Following in the footsteps of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (1974) in fashioning a send up or classic horror films, this was a surprise box office hit at the time. Today, the comedy often falls flat, and references to the “Roots” mini-series and other touchstones of ’70s pop culture tend to date the film. Still, there is enough here to make for a fun outing. For all of his suntanned handsomeness, George Hamilton nails the Transylvanian accent, little Arte Johnson, who perfected his creepiness during his long tenure on TV’s “Laugh In”, steals scenes as Renfield, and Richard Benjamin plays a bungling psychoanalyst and descendant of Dr. Van Helsing. While Susan Saint James does not add any comedy, she does act as a kind of time capsule, reminding us of what popular conceptions regarding female beauty were in 1979.

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