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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When Paul Carlson (Christopher Matthews) goes missing, his brother
Simon (Dennis Waterman) and friend Sarah Framsen (Jenny Hanley) trace
his footsteps to try to find him. Their journey leads them to a small
village full of inhospitable locals who will only tell the pair that
Paul was last seen heading toward a nearby castle. Simon and Sarah set
off for the castle unaware of the danger that awaits them. This is no
ordinary castle. It's the home of Dracula. Simon and Sarah find
themselves in a fight for their lives against the King of the Vampires.
Of Hammer's long list of Dracula films, Scars of Dracula is about average. It's nowhere near as good as Horror of Dracula, but it's a long way from being as bad as The Satanic Rites of Dracula. It's impossible to begin discussing any of Hammer's Dracula films without first mentioning Christopher Lee. In Scars of Dracula, Lee plays a more sadistic and evil version of the Count. In addition to the normal blood-sucking, this Dracula is not above the routine tortures of beating his servant with a whip, hanging a body from a wall, or sending his legions of bats to all but wipe out a town. It's these scenes that really make the film standout. But as much as I enjoyed the character of Dracula, as blasphemous as this will sound, it's one of Lee's weaker performances. Maybe I was reading something into his performance that wasn't there, but he came across as incredibly uninterested (which in reality he was). There's none of the menace in the eyes that I associate with Lee's Dracula. It's acting by-the-numbers as far as I could tell. It's unfortunately because Lee was always so good in the role.
Other highlights for me include Jenny Hanley as Sarah and the wall climbing scene. Hanley seemed like such a natural as the innocent, fragile Sarah. And she has some of the most expressive eyes I've noticed in a Hammer heroine. It's too bad she didn't make more films for Hammer. As for the wall climbing scenes, I believe it's the only one of its kind in any of the Hammer Dracula films. I realize that it's all done with camera tricks, but seeing Lee's Dracula climbing the side of the castle was a real treat.
Unfortunately, I found just as many negatives as I did positives in Scars of Dracula. First, the screenplay has a number of holes in it. All of the characters make it incredibly convenient for Dracula. Not once is Dracula forced to leave his castle to find a victim they all conveniently come to him. And just how did Sarah get to the castle so fast? The same journey that took Simon and a local priest almost an entire day is covered by the distraught Sarah in a matter of what seems to be a couple of hours. Next, Simon and Paul felt too modern given the time period in which the film is set. Their mannerisms, speech, and look simply scream 1970. Finally, in the beginning of the film, Dracula is resurrected by a rubber bat drooling blood over his remains. If it's that easy for Dracula to come back to life, why didn't he use this method more often? Why go through all the hassle of a séance as in Dracula A.D. 1972 or the elaborate ceremony in Taste the Blood of Dracula? I seems like a lot of wasted effort to me.
A bat drools blood on the smouldering corpse of its master to revive
him from the dead, where Dracula causes terror to the locals and
passing travellers. A young man Paul fleeing from the authorities,
disappears when he drops by Dracula's castle. Soon his brother Simon
and his finance Sarah have gone looking for him, where they encounter
unwelcoming locals and learn that Paul has passed through to Dracula's
Out of the Hammer Dracula films I've watched (which would be Horror of Dracula, Dracula - Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Taste the blood of Dracula and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires), this particular entry (the sixth) would have to be the weakest, but not entirely bad. What stands out is how sadistic it is in its nauseating actions and grisly make-up, where the red, red blood runs freely and the shocks are explicit. Also flesh and sexual activity is more fruitful. There's no denying this is one dark and mean-spirited Gothic film, held together by its scorchingly sombre atmosphere and some sensationally brooding set-pieces of striking suspense and images. These effective moments mainly derived from the original novel. Director Roy Ward Baker does a sound job, even though it can get patchy. However the main problem is that basic story and wilted script doesn't really build upon anything and it gets rather repetitive, senseless and creates drawn out feel. The ending is somewhat anti-climatic too. It's hard to escape the cheap look, as the sets are a mixture of cardboard structures, nice oil paintings as background features from the castle and plenty of rubber bats dangling from strings. While the woodlands surrounding the castle where forebodingly captured. The intrusive flair seems to be lurking there, but not with the same energy. Clocking in is a routine, frenzy music score. Christopher Lee seems to be going through the motions with a called in performance, but his presence features strongly to forgive that. The supporting cast are capable in their deliveries. Christopher Mathews, Dennis Waterman, and a stunning Jenny Hanley are likable in their parts. Patrick Troughton, Wendy Hamilton, Michael Ripper and Michael Gwynn also are terrific.
Bloody, nasty and dread-filled, but due to its languid pace it nothing more than a modest attempt.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Scars of Dracula" has some interesting moments. One scene is taken directly from Bram Stoker's novel-Dracula crawling downward on the castle wall in lizard fashion. Also,Dracula kills one of his own with a knife,repeatedly stabbing his victim. Overall, the set designs and costumes are up to the high standards as all Hammer Studio horror films. The acting is good, the pace of the movie moves along well and there are suspenseful moments throughout. Christopher Lee again plays a menacing Dracula. He has an imposing presence. Another standout to me was Michael Ripper as the inn-keeper. He played in several of Hammer Studio's horror films as well. I enjoyed the ending of the film. This was a unique way for Dracula to meet his fate. A good film in Hammer's Dracula series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Paul(Christopher Matthews), a consummate ladies' man, has the
misfortune of being caught with the burgomaster's daughter by the
father himself. Trying to evade his guards, Paul winds up at Dracula's
castle when he can not find shelter anywhere else when his horse
carriage was driven way too far from his village.
Simon(Dennis Waterman), Paul's brother, and his gorgeous girlfriend Sarah(Jenny Hanley), seek out of their village to try and find him not knowing what evil lied ahead.
This is continuing right after "Taste the Blood of Dracula" and we watch as a bat swoops over the remaining ash of the Count releasing blood from it's mouth. That very blood will revive Dracula back to his former bodily state where he can again unleash terror on the countryside using servant Klove(Patrick Troughton, "Dr Who" fans might remember him as the second Time Lord)to bring him victims. A specific bat, the one that fed the ashes of Dracula blood, does much for the Count such as killing, spying, and sending messages to it's Master. Can Dracula's reign of terror be quenched? Or, will he now have enough weapons to continue his blood-lust and evil? By far, the most sadistic and violent of the Hammer vampire films to that point, this is by far Christopher Lee's best rendition of Dracula. He's able to really be vicious and nihilistic, almost like a released animal from it's cage at times. His eyes are blood red as he prepares to take a bite out of females who wander into his midst, and his bat tears into the faces of his enemies and foes. The ending is quite a hoot involving fire which starts from a bolt of lightning as Dracula squares off with Simon.
Vintage Hammer production that has Christopher Lee wearing his beloved black & red cloak and plastic teeth for the fifth (or is it sixth?) time already, only this time he gets to be really nasty and vicious! During the first ten minutes already, "Scars of Dracula" contains more gore and bloody make-up effects than all the previous sequels together and the set pieces are truly dark and grim, so bravo Mr. Roy Ward Baker, you certainly pleased me! The script, on the other hand, isn't very impressive. There's no real story, there aren't any elements that connect this film with any of the foregoing Dracula-films and the pitiful budget limitations even seem to affect the continuity at times. It appears to be easier every time to resurrect Dracula from the dead, as he rises again when a ridiculously fake bat on strings pukes blood on the rotting leftovers of his corpse. The devilish count goes on terrorizing the petrified inhabitants of a nearby village (that set his home on fire) as well as a trio of youngsters that pass by the castle accidentally. There are two marvelous aspects that typify this particular sequel: minor scenes that indicate an obvious return to Bram Stoker's basic writings (Dracula clambering on walls and dominating animals with his mind power) and especially the genuinely sadistic nature of his character! Whereas Dracula too often was a neutral monster in the other films, he's now a truly sick puppy, who unscrupulously butchers young women and molests his servants with a whip. Due to this energy-boost in the series, veteran actor Christopher Lee seems to enjoy his repetitive role some more again, and his great performance contributes in making "Scars of Dracula" a sleazy and violent Hammer highlight. Let's all get scarred by Dracula!
The problem with Hammer's ever-popular Dracula series is that the
sequels to the original classic all follow a set formula and are all
therefore rather monotonous. However, luckily for this instalment
Hammer have assigned one of their top directors; Roy Ward Baker, and
you can always count on him for an entertaining horror ride. The
Quatermass and the Pit director has achieved something that didn't seem
likely after seeing all the other films in the series; he's actually
got Christopher Lee to appear for more than five minutes! Yes, that's
right the star of the show is actually the star of the show this time;
and while he doesn't actually lead the film, you do get the impression
that you're watching a Christopher Lee film. His performance is the
usual mix of malevolence and over the top camp; and as usual, it's very
effective. Lee epitomises his character to such a degree that, Bela
Lugosi aside, you can't imagine anyone else in the role. And this is
all the better when you consider that he's in the movie for a while
The plot is the same "Dracula gets resurrected, wreaks some havoc and then gets defeated until next time" that all the Dracula sequels follow; but this time the surrounding story is much more interesting than usual. We follow a young upstart who flees after being accused of rape and finds himself in a place that you really don't want to find yourself; Count Dracula's castle. Then, after he's been missing for a while, his brother sets out to find him. An excellent atmosphere that is full of tension gives the film a very foreboding aura, which helps it massively in capturing a horror feel. The way that Dracula's castle is shown is fantastic, and the smoke effects and long shots of the castle itself are absolutely delicious. Adding to this is a very powerful musical score, which shows why Hammer are famous for their over the top music. Scars of Dracula is also notable for featuring most of the common vampire clichés such as the wooden stake and the cross. One the whole, I rate this as Hammer's second best Dracula film, second only to the original. Highly recommended!
The Prince of Darkness is revived by a bat that hovers over his
crumbling remains dripping blood onto it. Shortly after this a girl is
found dead under suspicious circumstances and angry local villagers get
into action and carry out an amazingly inept revenge act. It doesn't
work of course, and soon we are off on another vampire tale
Scars of Dracula is the most bloody of the entries in the Hammer Dracula series. With a particularly gruesome slaughter in a church a standout moment of macabre nastiness. And a sadistic whipping meted out by the count another example of the more sadistic approach of this movie. Christopher Lee is on hand again with another typically reliable performance. Character actor Patrick Troughton plays his grimy sidekick, while Anouska Hempel appears as his slinky fellow female vampire. Anouska is sadly underused here but will be familiar to those of you that have seen the impressive later erotic horror film Vampyres. Unlike that latter film, Scars doesn't feature any actual nudity as it appears in the Hammer cycle before they started incorporating that. Beyond the gore there isn't anything overly different in this entry, it's the usual staple of features you would expect of a Hammer Dracula film. Although if you are a fan of the series then this is not necessarily a bad thing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sixth Hammer Dracula is a tired rehash of the same story told in
the previous five films. The blood & gore quota has been increased
somewhat - presumably Hammer's way of trying to make the film fresh and
original. There's just a fraction more sexuality too, with some of the
lady's outfits revealing as much cleavage as can be shown without
having fully naked actresses running all over. Certainly, the film
makes a point of dwelling on the more sensational aspects we have
mass murders, impalements, eyeballs hanging out, burnings, graphic
neck-bitings, a frenzied stabbing, and more. For all its bloodiness and
sexual suggestiveness, one question remains:- is Scars Of Dracula
anything special? No, not really. Just another routinely efficient
vampire flick from the Hammer production line.
Womaniser Paul Carlson (Christopher Matthews) makes a quick exit from a provincial town after being caught having his wicked way with the Burgomaster's daughter. He escapes over the frontier and ends up seeking a room for the night at a castle owned by a forbidding cloaked aristocrat named Dracula (Christopher Lee). Needless to say, nothing is heard of him again . soon afterwards, Paul's brother Simon (Dennis Waterman) grows worried about his brother's disappearance and starts searching for him, accompanied by a beautiful lady they both admire called Sarah (Jenny Hanley). The trail inevitably leads to Castle Dracula, where the unsuspecting couple find themselves in great danger. Once again the forces of good and evil must do battle in the shadow of Dracula's castle.
Scars Of Dracula is hurt most of all by its frequent lapses in logic and continuity. Just a few examples a). Anouska Hempel's seductive lady vampires appears in a mirror behind Paul (supposedly vampires cast no reflection). b). Dracula sleeps in front of an open window (didn't daylight destroy him in the first film, even with his eyes closed?). c). Paul dives through the roof of a carriage, smashing it beneath him, yet in the subsequent sequence the carriage roof appears completely undamaged. d). Dracula is killed by a bolt of lightning which sets him alight (when did fire become a bona fide method for disposing of vampires?) There are similar inconsistencies throughout the entire film. If we overlook these flaws, there's some fun to be had from a viewing of Scars Of Dracula. Plenty of gruesome incident is crammed into its hour and a half duration, and the film is visually quite nicely done. Some of the performances are rather good, especially Patrick Troughton (in full maniacal mode as Dracula's henchman Klove) and Michael Ripper (in a larger-than-usual role as a paranoid innkeeper). James Bernard provides rousing music his contribution to this series cannot be overstated. Overall, this is a competent but unremarkable addition to the cycle. There are no new twists for those who've seen the other Hammer Draculas but, in its simple way, it is an efficiently crafted screamer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When his brother goes missing after visiting a remote castle, Simon and
his fiancée Sarah travel there to try and find him. Unfortunately for
them, the missing man has been a guest of that undead fiend, Count
This is the sixth of Hammer's nine Dracula movies, and the fifth to feature Big Chris as the caped varlet. It's not the best one, but as with almost all the British studio's films it's well made, scary, enjoyable and atmospheric. The star attraction is of course Lee, who is as hypnotic and menacing as ever in his signature role, but the rest of the cast are fairly good too. Waterman (later the star of seminal TV cop show The Sweeney) is a solid lead, Troughton has a lot of fun in the Renfield role, cheerfully hacking up bodies, and Ripper gets more screen time than usual as the innkeeper, a part he took in several other Hammer films. Hanley is a bit of a wet blanket (and dubbed) as the girlfriend, but is well-qualified in the heaving bosom stakes, and Hamilton, Hempel and Lindsay are all saucy fun. The script isn't very exciting and there are some dodgy bat attacks, but overall there's a terrific sense of dread, lush sets, great day-for-night photography, a strong woodwind score by regular composer James Bernard and plenty of gruesome scares. Fine fanged frolics for undead film fans.
The budgets were hitting rock bottom and the formula getting tired by the time Hammer persuaded Christopher Lee to don the cape yet again for 1970's Scars of Dracula. Not particularly bad though awfully over-familiar, this has the feel of everyone clocking on to work at a treadmill as yet another unwary (and in this case accidental) traveller finds himself shunned by tight-lipped superstitious locals (well, Michael Ripper and a couple of extras) and soon regretting taking advantage of the Count's hospitality in the first half while in the second half his brother (a young and badly miscast Dennis Waterman) and romantic interest Jenny Hanley go through much of the same routine in the second as they go in search of him. There's an effectively nasty surprise waiting for the villagers in the church after their early attempt to burn the Count out of house and home and there's an engagingly matter of fact just-another-day-at-work sequence where Patrick Troughton's servant discards the remnants of one of his master's unwanted brides with a hacksaw and an acid bath but this is more notable for upping the violence than improving the quality.
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