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The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride / Dracula Is Dead ... and Well and Living in London

UK 1973
produced by
Roy Skeggs, Don Houghton (associate) for Hammer
directed by Alan Gibson
starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Coles, William Franklyn, Freddie Jones, Joanna Lumley, Richard Vernon, Barbara Yu Ling, Patrick Barr, Richard Matthews, Lockwood West, Valerie Van Ost, Maurice O'Connell, Peter Adair, Maggie Fitzgerald, Pauline Peart, Finnuala O'Shannon, Mia Martin, John Harvey, Marc Zuber, Paul Weston, Ian Dewar, Graham Rees
written by Don Houghton, music by John Cacavas, music supervisor: Philip Martell, special effects by Les Bowie

Dracula, Hammer's Dracula, Dracula (Christopher Lee), Hammer's modern day Dracula, Van Helsing, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The British Secret Service is increasingly worried about a Satanic Circle that seems to have several important politicians and scientists in its grip, most notably Professor Keeley (Freddie Jones), so Scotland Yard inspector Murray (Michael Coles) is entrusted with the investigations, who in turn assigns the help of Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), an eminent scientist and specialist in the occult - and a personal friend of Keeley. When Van helsing pays Keeley a visit though, he sinds out that Keeley has developed a new, uncurable strain of the bulbonic plague, and soon is shot at while Keeley is hanged.

Murray and Van Helsing's granddaughter Jessica (Joanna Lumley) meanwhile pay the headquarters of the Satanic Circle a visit ... to find a basement full of vampire women.

Soon, Van Helsing and Murray find out that in the mastermind behind everything is reclusive businessman D.D.Denham - whom Van helsing figures to be no other than Dracula himself (Christopher Lee) - but Dracula with a death wish, and ultimately a vampire can only really die when all of humankind is eradicated, right ? So that's why he let Keeley create a new strand of bulbonic plague ...

After a series of chases and run-ins with Dracula's biker henchmen and vampire women, everything seems lost when Van Helsing and his granddaughter are captured by Dracula and gang and Murray is about to be lured into a trap - but somehow Van Helsing turns the tide when he releases the plague on Dracula's henchmen, then he fights Dracula himself with everything that's unholy to a vampire, including a thornbush, running water and the customary stake through the heart. And in the finale, Dracula dissolves for good.

 

Hammer's first encounter of Christopher Lee's Dracula and Peter Cushing's Van Helsing, simply titled Dracula, was a bona fide classic gothid horror. Their last encounter however, an uneasy blend of horror elements, contemporary action cinema and James Bond-motives, was decidedly less so, a rather trashy attempt to bring an old formula up-to-date and redefine Dracula himself as a modern day evil businessman turned supervillain - with his few genuine vampire scenes seeming especially ridiculous in that respect.

However, Satanic Rites of Dracula is not a movie that is just bad, it's a fun trip back to London in the early 1970's, it's a genre-blender that's hilarious but in a good way, and it actually features some really chilling scenes, like one of Dracula's henchmen dying from the plague or Dracula himself dissolving to nothing in the end.

Admittedly, it's not a great film, but very likeable just the same.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

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Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
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the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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