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A Taste of Blood

USA 1967
produced by
Herschell Gordon Lewis, Sidney J. Reich (executive) for Creative Film Enterprises
directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
starring Bill Rogers, Elizabeth Wilkinson, William Kerwin (as Thomas Wood), Lawrence Tobin, Ted Schell, Otto Schlessinger, Eleanor Vaill, Gail Janis, Herschell Gordon Lewis (as Seymour Sheldon), Judy Waterberry, Dolores Carlos, Roy Collodi, Karl Stoeber, Thomas Rowland, Sidney J.Reich, Barrie Walton, Cal Bowman, Doug Weston, Jake R.Pawlson, Bill Kozak
written by Donald Stanford, Dracula created by Bram Stoker

Dracula, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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John Stone (Bill Rogers) couldn't lead a happier life: He is a rich and successful businessman with a lovely wife, Helene (Elizabeth Wilkinson) and a secretary, Hester (Eleanor Vaill), who not only adores him but also she runs the business better than he does. Then one day though he learns about an inheritance in Great Britain that apparently consists of Carfax Abbey, some vast treasure, and two bottles of brandy that come by mail ...

When John starts drinking the brandy, he starts to change though: He never visits his office anymore, he sleeps all through the day, he fears the crucifix, and he gets weird and bossy. Now all that would spell vampire, but his wife rather believes in marital problems and turns to his best friend Hank (William Kerwin), who's openly in love with her. The more time she spends with Hank though, the more upset John gets ...

Then John is invited to England, to take care of his possessions - and while he's there he kills three men. He returns to the States with a coffin and a list, containing the names of the three dead men and three more names - all of whom are connected with the death of Dracula, some 100 years ago, because by drinking the brandy, John has become Dracula.

Back in the USA, John kills some more while neither Helene nor Hank can make heads or tails of his behaviour ... until Dr Howard Helsing (Otto Schlessinger) appears on the scene to state the obvious - that John is actually a vampire. By then though, John has started transforming Helene into a vampire as well and has her under his hypnotic spell.

Eventually, the police closes in on John/Dracula, but he manages to escape. Thing is though he makes Helene come after him, and this way, Hank, Helsing and inspector Crane (Lawrence Tobin) can pick up his trail and at long last stake him ...

 

A version of Dracula made by Herschell Gordon Lewis, now that at least sounds interesting - but be warned, this is not another of his gore extravaganzas (actually, there's precious little blood in this one) nor does it contain the same amount of black humour as his actual masterpieces (actually, for most part, the film takes itself rather seriously). Plus, with a running time of almost 2 hours, the film is probably the longest in Lewis' filmography (though I have not thoroughly checked that), and as a matter of fact, it could have done with half an hour less running time. And the finale is rather a disappointment, actually.

But that all said, A Taste of Blood isn't half bad, it contains an interesting and novel approach to vampirism, tells an involving story full of fleshed-out characters (rather than Lewis' usual hysteric caricatures), and is actually pretty intelligent - in the confines of the vampire genre. It's just not what you have come to expect from a director like Herschell Gordon Lewis, but still well worth a look.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD