The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride / Dracula Is Dead ... and Well and Living in London
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)
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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.
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
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.
it's not a great film, but very likeable just the same.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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