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Scars of Dracula
Dracula - Nächte des Entsetzens

UK 1970
produced by
Aida Young for Hammer
directed by Roy Ward Baker
starring Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley, Christopher Matthews, Patrick Troughton, Michael Gwynn, Michael Ripper, Wendy Hamilton, Anouska Hempel, Delia Lindsay, Bob Todd, Toke Townley, David Leland, Richard Durden, Maurice Bush, Margo Boht, Clive Barrie
screenplay by Anthony Hinds (as John Elder), based on characters created by Bram Stoker, music by James Bernard, music supervisor: Philip Martell

Dracula, Hammer's Dracula, Dracula (Christopher Lee)

review by
Mike Haberfelner




Dracula (Christopher Lee) is brought back from the dead and burnt to a crisp by a bat dripping a bit of blood on his remains, and sure enough he terrorizes the nearby town, upon which the men of the village make a trip to his castle and burn it, even if Dracula's loyal servant Klove (Patrick Troughton, fresh from his run as Doctor Who) assures them they'll achieve nothing and only bring doom on themselves - and indeed, once they return to the village and look for their wives and daughters whom they have left in the safety of the church, they find them all slaughtered by blood-drinking bats.

A few years later in another village not too far away: Paul (Christopher Matthews), the local scoundrel and womanizer, gets in trouble with the Burgomaster (Bob Todd) and his men, so he has to make a hasty escape to wherever his feet take him - and with darkness setting in, he of course arrives at aforementioned village, which he finds weirdly boarded up. Julie, a maid at the local inn (Wendy Hamilton) allows him in, but ultimately the landlord (Michael Ripper) throws him out again, and thus he has no other option than to go to spend the night at this dreaded "castle" he has heard so much about, where he's invited in by a beautiful woman, Tania (Anouska Hempel), hosted by Count Dracula himself, and ultimately he spends the night with Tania - whom Dracula slaughters right before dawn, upon which Paul knows he has to make a getaway, but eventually he ends up in Dracula's own mausoleum.

Back in Paul's village, his brother Simon (Dennis Waterman) and Simon's girlfriend Sarah (Jenny Hanley) start to worry about Paul, and trying to track him down land at the same inn, where they are rudely thrown out for making inquiries, but Julie turns them to Dracula's castle, where Dracula plays the perfect host, of course wanting to feed on them - but Klove has taken a liking in Sarah and ultimately helps them escape. Simon decides he has to go back to the castle and leaves Sarah with the local priest (Michael Ripper), but Dracula apparently knows everything, so he has his blood-sucking bats kill the priest upon which Sarah flees to the castle, and all is set for a showdown that's ultimately decided when a flash of lightning strikes a lance driven through Dracula's chest.

 

Now of course this is a far cry from Terence Fisher's classic and genre re-defining Dracula, it's much more of a paint-by-the-numbers job with some gore and sexy bits added for a more timely approach - though for 1970, the film still looks a bit out-dated. But be it far from a classic on its own merits, the film's still a good deal of fun for basically living up to all the expectations one might have for a Hammer Dracula from that era while still offering some macabre details and variations on the formula, and of course the cast alone and the Hammer-feel to things rate high on the nostalgia scale and might make this movie more fun today than back when even.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD