The Moya View

El Conde: Living With the Vampire of a Nation’s Horror


Movie info via Rotten Tomatoes:

El Conde is a dark comedy/horror that imagines a parallel universe inspired by the recent history of Chile. The film portrays Augusto Pinochet, a symbol of world fascism, as a vampire who lives hidden in a ruined mansion in the cold southern tip of the continent. Feeding his appetite for evil to sustain his existence. After two hundred and fifty years of life, Pinochet has decided to stop drinking blood and abandon the privilege of eternal life. He can no longer bear that the world remembers him as a thief. Despite the disappointing and opportunistic nature of his family, he finds new inspiration to continue living a life of vital and counterrevolutionary passion through an unexpected relationship.



The Chilean director, Pablo Lorraine has an animosity for the former dictator, Augusto Pinochet that goes back to birth, two years after the start of the Pinochet regime. His first three films as a director Tony Manero, Post Mortem and No are a satire trilogy that utilize Pinochet as a horror in the mind, ever present, even today, in the Chilean National Psyche. Lorraine’s better known English language films, the Jackie Onassis and Princess Diana psycho-dramas Jackie and Spencer, had lacquered in dream and nightmare essences. Horror is part of his natural style. It’s not surprising that Lorraine would make Pinochet, a vampire, a creature that feasts on the blood of the people, for his horror spoof El Conde (The Count).


Lorraine’s creation plays what if with Chilean history, imagining Pinochet as the leader of an economically devastated country ruling over a dried out pampas wasteland. The black and white cinematography by Ed Lachman, has a liquid gothic tone, recalling the old Universal horror classics but with a beautiful sheen and depth of field that heavily echoes Theodore Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc. The film’s main sight gag has the vampire Pinochet (Daniel Contesse) flying sadly, majestically through the Pantagonian air, a bat in semblance, but also an evil, soaring Superman. As for the Dreyer comparisons, Paula Luchsinger, the nun sent by the church to kill Pinochet, has the same radiant presence of face that made Maria Falconetti’s Joan so memorable. She even has a nice burning at the stake scene.


Pinochet does have a unique vampire feeding twist. He likes to rip out the heart of his victims and drink them as a smoothie. Pinochet’s and his wife’s (Gloria Munchmeyer) vampiric roots go back to the French Revolution where he morbidly licked off the blood on the guillotine that beheaded Marie Antoinette. There is a twist with the supposed wife that involves a certain British Prime Minister who lead the UK from the late 70’s-early 90’s. For Lorraine, politician is the nice side job for vampires.


The plot doesn’t kick in until halfway through. Until then the audience is left to feed on the crumbs of exposition and existential vampire ennui. The cruelties are dished out in digestible camp bites, the actual Pinochet cruelties being too strong for the highest Netflix audience rating. When the five greedy relatives finally showing up looking for their inheritance, the wanting to die vampire refuses to die, the nun vampire killer has shown up and has either succeeded or failed. And the audience has been treated to one fantastic flying nun sequence and a final 45 minutes that is a top ten film ending for 2023 in my book.


The aesthetics of film making demand that the director leave room for a sequel. Pinochet must live to fight another day, haunt the mind until the next time. Thus there is no ultimate retribution, no stake through the heart. Lorraine is allowed to face his monster but not kill it.


El Conde exist in that incomplete feeling and thus gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+. It’s streaming exclusively on Netflix.



Directed by

Pablo Larraín

Written by

Pablo Larraín

Guillermo Calderón

Produced by

Juan de Dios Larraín


Jaime Vadell

Gloria Münchmeyer

Alfredo Castro

Paula Luchsinger


Edward Lachman

Edited by

Sofía Subercaseaux




Distributed by


Release dates

  • August 31, 2023(Venice)
  • September 15, 2023(Netflix)

Running time

110 minutes[1]









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