Sunday, October 10, 2010

October Movie Reviews: Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

For my October Reviews I continuing the Hammer Horror Dracula Collection with the first entry of the 1970s..

Christopher Lee has returned in the next Hammer film and it starts as the previous one of completing.  Dracula is struggling on the cross he was impaled on and  soon dies, leaving his cloak, ring, and blood.  A passerby witnesses this and we are off an running.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
This one begins as Dracula has Risen From His Grave ends. So timeline wise we are still just around 10 years from Van Helsing's destruction of Dracula.  A passerby, Weller, sees Dracula die so he collects Dracula's clothes and blood.  We switch to a church scene where we meet the principle families.  The father, Mr. Hargood scolds his daughter later for "flirting" with a young man before he heads out for his end of the month "charity work".  In reality he, and the other men from the church, Paxton and Secker, have formed a small club where they partake in prostitutes.  Now here I want to point out that while Dracula's castle seems just down the raod a bit, this all looks like 1890s London.  I know I should not quibble.
Anyway they meet up with a disgraced Lord who plans to show them all sorts of pleasures.  He purchases Dracula's blood and makes a drink of it using his own blood.  The others do not drink and it kills the Lord.  Later Dracula rises up, transforming the dead body into his own.  Neat trick that.
Dracula vows to kill those that have killed his servant.
He attacks Hargood first, convincing his daughter to beat him in the head with a shovel. He get's Paxton's daughter and she kills her father and likewise with Secker and his son.  Dracula is about to get rid of Alice Hargood when her boyfriend shows up, now armed with knowledge left to him by her father, to destroy Dracula.  He puts a cross in the door (Dracula should really get that door changed, people keep doing that) and blesses his coffin.  Dracula falls from a balcony and lands on alter turning to dust.

This was a more interesting movie for a few reasons.  One, Dracula manipulates others into doing his killing for him, though he is not above doing some himself.  Plus this movie is the first that has Hammer pushing the boundaries some more.  While there was always beautiful women and sex-appeal, this is the first of the Dracula films with some nudity in it and explict references to sex.  It was 1970 afterall, but I think this was more due to the fact that audiences, now fat on American movies and American sex and violence, wanted more and Hammer needed to fill the seats.  So this does feel more like a "slasher flick" than some of the previous movies.
This was yet another movie where Lee nealry didn't reprise the role of the Count, but in the end he must have gave in.  This was also one of the last of the Victorian era Hammer Dracula movies (as far as I can tell).  After this (and Scars of Dracula, which I don't own) we move on to Dracula 1972 which sets it in the modern age.

I know I had never seen this one before, others I might not be clear about, but this was a first time viewing.

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