Monday, March 2, 2009

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

Director: Peter Sasdy

Starring: Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Ralph Bates

More Info: IMDB


Plot: Three elderly distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives. They find that excitement in one Lord Courtley, a roguish young aristocrat who is skilled in the occult. He claims that with their help and money, together they can resurrect Count Dracula. In a nightly ceremony they restore the count back to life. The three men accidentally kill Dracula's servant and the count makes sure that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own sons.

My Rating: 7/10

Would I watch it again? Yup.

#39 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

This one takes place moments before the last one (DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968)). Drac dies before the eyes of a traveling salesman, Weller (played by the great Roy Kinnear), who sees a potential opportunity for money and gathers Drac's red dust remains as well as his cloak and pendant.

Sadly, we don't see The Count for another 45 minutes but that's OK because we get treated to a really neat set-up for how he gets to come back and kill again. And that's one of the coolest parts of the film. Having the bored mid-life crises upper crust gentlemen tiring of their catting ways at the brothels and looking for something to spice up their lives is pretty clever and loads of fun. It feels like a very plausible way to continue the story and at the same time introduce a much different way of adding to the series. It's not just another "Strangers beware! Don't go to the castle!" story. They really are trying here and that's most admirable.

The problem is the weak ending. Dracula dies, of course, but it's not nearly as exciting or thought provoking as the previous films have ended. That's really the biggest letdown.

There are some strong performances all the way around, nothing groundbreaking but good nonetheless. Dracula doesn't say much. But, then again, he doesn't have to.

The best part of TASTE has to be another knock-it-out-of-the-park score by James Bernard. Fantastic. It just keeps getting better. It's rich, menacing and delightful. WOW!

So, go ahead and taste the blood of Dracula. It's great vampy fun from the Hammer Studios and you might just find yourself getting sucked into a pretty good story to boot. Ahahahahahaha. I got a million of 'em.

Here's the list of the Hammer Dracula films:

Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

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