Meals for Monsters: ZOLTAN, THE HOUND OF DRACULA (1978)

Movie Review and Recipes by Jenny Orosel
Dracula has a long and glorious history in filmdom.  He’s been a hideous, long-nailed ghoul.  He’s been a gorgeous, sexy beast.  Hell, he’s even been a woman.  You may think you know everything there is to know about that creature of the night.  But, did you know he had a dog?

ZOLTAN, THE HOUND OF DRACULA (1978) opens with Russian soldiers detonating a field.  In doing so, they unearth a crypt.  One of the tombs inside is marked “Dracula”.  A curious soldier, careful not to disturb that one, decides to explore the one next to it.  Inside is a corpse wrapped in cloth and a wooden stake sticking out.  Now, if you unearthed something buried next to Dracula with a stake in it, what would be the wisest course of action?  Removing the stake isn’t the best choice, but it was what that soldier did.  Zoltan, Dracula’s hound (actually, it was a Doberman, but that’s one of the many details conveniently ignored in this flick) springs to life and kills said soldier.  Then he opens another tomb, awakening Veidt, Dracula’s servant, and the two set out on a quest to find a new master.  That master?  Dracula’s last surviving heir, Michael Drake.  Drake is off camping with his family, their two dogs and litter of puppies.  Will Zoltan and Veidt be able to transform Drake into a vampire, and thus have their master back?  Or will Drake and his family survive their lineage?

The best way to approach ZOLTAN is to not think too hard.  If you do, you’ll wonder how Drake can be the last of the line if he has two kids.  You’ll wonder why they thought it was a good idea to take a box full of newborn puppies out into the woods.  You’ll wonder why Zoltan and Veidt travelled halfway across the world from Russia to California for a master when they could have just opened Dracula’s tomb.  There’s a lot to ZOLTAN that doesn’t make sense.  But it is a fun, almost silly vampire flick with plenty of Karo syrup gore.  And it has vampire puppies!  Puppies!  Horror has never been so cute.

“Sic ’em, Zoltan!”

ZOLTAN is truly a movie for the masses.  Fans of cheesy monster flicks have plenty to enjoy, and people not into horror have cute puppies to look at.  Sure, they’re bloodsucking and evil, but they’re puppies.

In honor of the first victim, that poor (albeit dumb) Russian soldier, I designed this cocktail:


5 oz vodka
3 oz pomegranate juice
Serve over ice.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds if available.


When dealing with hellish canines, hot dogs is a pun so obvious that, as much as I tried, I couldn’t resist.  So, to enjoy with your movie you can nosh on:

DEVIL DOGS (serves three)

6 hot dogs
1 jalapeno pepper (or three Serrano chilies, if you want something spicier)
6 slices of regular cut bacon (avoid the thick cut, tasty as it is)
Buns and your favorite condiments

Preheat the oven to 450.  Slice the chile pepper into long strips, removing the seeds and white membranes.  Slice the hot dogs lengthwise, only cutting halfway in.  Insert strips of the peppers from end to end.  Wrap a piece of bacon around the dog, securing with a toothpick at each end.  Bake on top of a rack for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  It should go without saying, but remove the toothpicks before consuming.  Place the dogs in the buns, topped with your preferred condiment, and serve with French fries, onion rings, or the souls of your enemies.


Wooden stakes are convenient to have when dealing with vampires.  Unfortunately, they’re not very tasty.  For dessert, have a plate of these cookies on the table, and maybe it’ll be enough to fake out the vampires (as long as you’re dealing with gullible ones):


1 stick butter, softened.
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup flour

Mix the butter and sugar and vanilla together until blended.  Add flour, and mix slowly (as to not send flour shooting out across the kitchen).  Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a cookie sheet.  Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap.  Roll out to about ¼ inch thick.  Slice into long wedges.  Bake for 8 minutes, or just until the edges start to brown.  Cool on wire rack.


Interesting fact: a dog that looks an awful lot like Zoltan appears in a painting of the great Manos in MANOS: HANDS OF FATE (1966). Just a coincidence?

ZOLTAN was directed by the great Albert Band, the auteur behind I BURY THE LIVING (1958) and GHOULIES II (1988).  He knows how to give the audience a good time.  And it’s hard not to have a good time while watching vampire puppies.  So sit back, relax with a tasty meal, and watch your pets go nuts every time the dogs start barking on screen.

© Copyright 2012 by Jenny Orosel

DRACULA’S DOG was an alternate title used for Zoltan: The Hound of Dracula.

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