Monday, October 11, 2010

October Movie Reviews: Dracula AD 1972 (1972)

It's Disco Dracula! Well not really, but it is the first Hammer Dracula set in the 1970s.

This movie reunites Lee and Cushing as Dracula and Van Helsing for the first time since Horror of Dracula.

Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
We begin this one with Dracula and Van Helsing (oddly name Lawrence, but that is fine I think I see what they are doing here) fighting on a coach.  They crash and both die.  One of Dracs followers collects the Count and buries him near Van Helsing.

Ok a minor stop here.  Normally I don't quibble about continuity, especially one in a horror film.  But if this takes place in 1872 and the event of Dracula (the book and supposedly the movie) in 1897 then...ok, repeat to yourself it is only a show...

Fast forward 100 years (to the day-why does it always happen like that?) we meet up with hipster 70s teenage set, Jess (Jessica Van Helsing) and her friends which includes a Johnny Alucard.  Jessica is the grand-daughter of "Lorrimer" Van Helsing, who is in turn the grand-son of Lawrence.  Johnny proposes this new way to "get some kicks" (it's the 70s) and that is a Satanic rite (yeah, the 70's).  The rite brings back Dracula (of course) and the first victim is Caroline Munro.
Her body is found the next day and the police seek out Van Helsing on the matter since they think there may be a ritual slaying angle.

Soon Van Helsing is on the trail but not before we get a few more bodies.  Dracula is after Jessica of course, but wants to get Lorrimer too.   Big battle in the unsanctified Church and Dracula is killed, once again by Van Helsing.

I have some issues with this movie.

First, it was not as bad as I was lead to believe.  Yes, it's not very good and the plot in not that different than what we saw in Taste the Blood of Dracula.  The count is still chasing after pretty girls, he is still hunting down people named Van Helsing and really all the is changed is the setting.
Speaking of which, I know it's 70's London, but did we really need the band going through TWO whole songs in the beginning?  It would have been ok if they had been someone, or even good, but we got a third-rate Sly and the Family Stone that I have never heard of before and doubt neither has anyone else.  edit: ok, they have their own Wikipedia page.

The Satanic angle was interesting, but un-needed,  Dracula is evil enough on his own without worrying about being upstaged by the Devil.

Like the Universal movies before it the Hammer Dracs are beginning to show their diminishing returns with sequels.  Granted Lee never had the indignity of facing off against the comedic duo of the time like Lugosi eventually did, but taking out a group of English Mods is almost as bad.

What I do like is the idea that Van Helsing family has been doing this for years. There is room in my games for a Lawrence, Lorrimer, Jessica, Abraham and even Rachel Van Helsing.  Not so sure about a Gabriel though.

In the end this movie was a disappointment in terms of lost potential.

1 comment:

Trey said...

My take on hthis film pretty much echoes yours. It wasn't terrible, but rather slight--even for the sort of movie I was expecting.