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|Index||57 reviews in total|
Many people seem to dislike this episode from the Dracula series and I can't figure out why. Is it because some find the special effects lame? If that's their complaint it definitely doesn't make sense. The Hammer studios, at least as far as I know, never tried to convince the audience with many special effects. They mainly relied on their cast, directors, settings and suspense; this one has all of these great qualities. In my opinion SOD is even one of the better Hammer movies made in 70´s. There is a lot of more horror in it than in `Lust for a vampire' or `Twins of evil' to name a few titles from that era. SOD comes close to the `Horror of Dracula' and is certainly far better than `Prince of darkness'. Christopher Lee speaks a lot of lines in this episode, looks more evil than the devil himself and he is obviously enjoying it. You know what I mean after you have seen Dracula `petting' his assistant. There is one real weak spot in this film tough because it is not explained what caused Dracula to resurrect after his dead in `Taste the blood of Dracula'. Don't let other reviewers misguide you for you will miss one of the finest and original Hammer flicks ever made!
Some how I seemed to have missed this Horror film and was pleasantly surprised to view a great film from the 70's, that held my interest from the very beginning of the film to the very end. Christopher Lee,(Dracula),"Tale of the Mummy",'98 enjoyed the very young and beautiful women that seemed to visit him at his castle or were drawn to him by his favorite pets, BATS! Bodies were chopped up and put in acid and Dracula beat his faithful servant with a burning sword on his back in order to keep him away from his intended victims. If you love Christopher Lee and missed this film, this is the film for YOU! Dracula has great burning eyes that seem to pierce into your very soul as you watch him take complete control over his victims!
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!
As far as the Hammer Dracula films go, Scars of Dracula is among
neither the best or worst of them, if anything it's bang in the middle
in my opinion. Horror of Dracula is the best of the series(as well as
being one of Hammer's classics), with Brides of Dracula and Dracula:
Prince of Darkness being the best of the follow-ups, but Scars of
Dracula is better than all the Hammer Dracula films that followed.
If Scars of Dracula can be summed up in one phrase, it would be 'decent but could have been much more.' The story has its great parts certainly and kudos to the film for incorporating details from the book which few of the sequels did. It however does drag quite badly and has too much padding that had very little to do with the film. The script is at best mediocre and at worst shoddy, some parts are far too talky, and there's some silliness, vaguely explored ideas and sometimes tedious melodrama(like Dracula Has Risen from the Grave but worse).
The special effects do look dreadfully fake, especially the bats that look laughable even by today's standards. Scars of Dracula generally is not a bad-looking film at all, but it was at this point where the Hammer Dracula films started getting cheaper in comparison to the earlier films. While the acting is fine on the whole, Dennis Waterman did nothing for me, he is incredibly bland and while he looks and sounds right at home in 1970s London he looks and sounds completely out of place here.
Scars of Dracula has some highly atmospheric sets(especially Dracula's castle, which is like a character all by itself), is very stylishly shot and has wonderfully moody lighting. Roy Ward Baker's direction is decent, having the right amount of suspense and style if never erasing memories of Terrence Fisher, whose direction had more colour and atmosphere. James Bernard's score booms with intensity without being intrusive, while also having a rich lushness without becoming too sentimentalised. Scars of Dracula is very high in atmosphere, with a great sense of dread and suspenseful mystery throughout, it's also one of the the goriest and most violent of the series but not in a way that feels cheap or excessive. There are some memorable scenes, with the standouts being the powerful opening, the visually striking scene of Dracula climbing the castle walls and Dracula's demise, which is one of the most memorable of the series.
With the exception of Waterman, the cast do a solid job, even if the antagonists make a better impression. Christopher Matthews is reasonably likable in the screen-time he has, and Jenny Hanley is charming and natural as well as displaying a scene-stealing cleavage. Michael Ripper brings crusty and poignant demeanour to a character that could easily have been forgettable, and Michael Gwynn is good as the Priest. Klove and Dracula however steal the show. Patrick Troughton's Klove, sporting some very memorable eyebrows, is skin-crawlingly creepy, and I did find myself rooting ever so slightly for him. Christopher Lee has more screen-time and dialogue than the rest of the Hammer Dracula films featuring him, which is great considering that generally his screen-time and amount of dialogue were lessoning with each instalment, and he absolutely relishes that in a powerful and positively blood-curdling performance. Some have said that he was losing interest and that he considered this film the worst of the series, but it didn't come over that way to me, besides Lee was too great and conscientious an actor to show that.
Overall, decent but could have been much more; Hammer's fifth Dracula film out of eight ranks right in the middle personally. 6/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Amazingly, Hammer got two Dracula movies out in 1970. "Taste the Blood
of Dracula" was released in May. "Scars of Dracula" was released by
November. "Taste" had the series moving into more explicit area. "Scars
of Dracula" jumps in full-force, being the goriest Dracula film the
studio ever produced.
The last few entries took their time resurrecting Dracula. This one gets right to it. A bat drips blood on his ashes, bringing the Prince of Darkness back. And all before the opening credits. Despite dying in England last time, Dracula apparently took the time between movies to move back to Transylvania. As in "Prince of Darkness," a group of unknowing travelers wander into Dracula's castle, each one crossing his path and incurring his wrath. As has happened before, Dracula also pursues a beautiful woman, determined to make her his latest bride.
"Scars of Dracula" is highly uneven. However, it's got two things going for it. First off, it has a fantastic opening. After being revived, Dracula starts preying on the women of the village. The local Transylvanians decide they'd had it up to here and, taking a page from "Frankenstein," head to Drac's castle with torches and pitchforks. The villagers walk away happy in their victory, watching the castle burn in the distance. They return to the church and swing open the door. Inside, their wives and daughters have been torn apart by giant bats. The camera lingers on the gore, zooming in on each torn apart face. One girl dangles off the huge crucifix, her blood dripping on the candles below. The sequence starts the movie off with a bold, bloody exclamation mark. This doesn't even mention the further gore in the movie, like a brutal stabbing, a chopped up body, a heart dissolve in a pool of acid, torture with a red-hot sword, a man impaled on a hook, a priest having his face slashed off by a giant bat, and a man burnt alive.
The last few films wrote around Christopher Lee, limiting his part as much as possible. "Scars," meanwhile, gives Lee more to do. He has a handful of dialogue, greeting guests to his castle, demanding his servant removes a cross from a girl's neck, and sneers at the same servant. Most pressing to horror fans, Dracula is a badass in "Scars." He brutally bites at least two babes. A startling moment has the Count viciously stabbing his unfaithful bride, perhaps the most visceral the Count ever acted in this series. Lee's Dracula never had much interest in bats before. I honestly don't know if bats ever appeared in one of these movies before. This one changes all that. Giant rubber bats, each under the Count's control, fly through the movie. Lee even wields a sword! Lee's Dracula ranks up his highest body count here, with 14 confirmed kills.
It's a good thing the gore is satisfying and Lee is awesome. The rest of "Scars" is all over the place. The film opens with yet another character named Paul, this one played by Christopher Matthews. Paul appears in the bed of a beautiful woman, who gleefully flashes her breasts and butt at the camera. The girl's father chases the guy out. While stopping by his fiancé's birthday, the cops reappear, prompting Paul to leap into the back of a carriage. The carriage carries him to an inn, where he proceeds to seduce the young maid working there. Near minutes after meeting her, Paul has the girl throwing herself at him. Even after finding his way to Dracula's castle, Paul continues to win with the ladies. Dracula's bride Tania, played by the ravishing Anouska Hempel, spends a lustful night with the young man. These moments remind me of the British sex comedies that were gaining ground at the time. They seem quite out of place with the rest of the film.
The worst thing about Paul is that he disappears midway through the film. From there on his brother Simon and his fiancée Sarah assume the lead. Simon is more then ready to take Sarah's hand after his philandering brother disappears. They follow the trail back to Dracula's castle, find out he's a vampire, and wander out. Simon heads back to the castle and Sarah chases after soon after. Makes you wonder why they left in the first place. Meanwhile, the barmaid Paul almost seduced also ends up becoming Dracula's victim. It's a random sequence, the girl just becoming another beautiful victim of the Count. Also floating around the script is Klove, Dracula's man-servant. After seeing a picture of Sarah, he becomes obsessed with the girl. The creepy guy's infatuation with the maiden barely factors into the plot. "Scars of Dracula" is held down by a crowded, unfocused story.
Roy Ward Baker has the distinction of being Hammer's third best director. He couldn't generate suspense like Terrence Fisher. He wasn't as colorful as Freddie Francis. However, Ward brought his own style. The guy fills the sets with red scenery, always suggesting blood even when none is on-screen. Fisher always made his sets look fantastic. Baker makes them look intentionally artificial. Nearly the whole film is set in Dracula's castle. The stones look like foam and the backdrops look like paintings. There's a certain appeal to this. "Scars of Dracula" has a bold comic-book-y look, colorful and fun. Considering how gory the film is, it gives a EC Comics feeling. Baker brought this same sensibility his other Hammer films, like the similarly outrageous "The Vampire Lovers" and "Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde."
With a more focused screenplay and less bumpy pacing, "Scars of Dracula" could have been the best of the series. The messiness is obvious in the ending, where Dracula is struck by a bolt of lightning. It's not the smoothest of the Hammer Dracula flicks though if you're looking for lots of bright blood, plunging necklines, and Christopher Lee being awesome, it will satisfy.
*** 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.
Scars of Dracula, without a pre-sale agreement with the U.S. was
therefore filmed on a low budget, and while this shows, it does not
prevent this from being one of the most memorable and unfairly derided
of the long-running vampire series.
Christopher Lee turns in an excellent performance as the Count, and has plenty of screen time and dialogue compared to "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" (1966), where the script was so woeful he refused to say any of it and ended up saying nothing at all. He is helped by an impressive supporting cast familiar to Hammer fans such as Patrick Troughton as Dracula's servant, and Michael Ripper as the local landlord. They outshine some of the main cast and give the film the depth it otherwise lacks. Director Roy Ward Baker has apparently said in interviews that Dennis Waterman was miscast, but he is really not too bad in his role as the more thoughtful and serious of two brothers (the other is played by Christopher Matthews).
The special effects are laughably poor as usual, especially the incredibly fake-looking bats on strings. Also it is not a good idea to look too closely into the plot, which is stretched and contains some noticeable holes. Unlike the other entries in the series, Scars of Dracula actually uses some scenes recognisable from the Bram Stoker novel, which is an improvement. The story holds few surprises for anyone who has seen any of the other films before as they tend to follow the same formula. Perhaps due to the era or the competition this film also features more sex and violence than most of the previous entries combined. The sets are quite impressive, as is the atmospheric score by James Bernard.
Though not the best of the Lee Dracula films, Scars is nonetheless an enjoyable watch, especially compared to the later efforts that showed a real decline in quality.
*** 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 ***
For genre fans who appreciate Hammer Horror, Christopher Lee's acting,
Victorian costuming, etc. this movie is ok/average.
Paul Carlson is a young dashing man who swoons every woman and 'gets together' with them. Escaping from the Burgemaster after 'getting together' with his daughter (very funny dialogue), our protagonist is chased out of the city of Kleineburg into the rural countryside where scared villagers hide from the wrath of Dracula and the animals he has dominion over.
Unable to find a room (and almost getting together with a barmaid), Paul arrives at Dracula's castle. Dracula, of course, welcomes the visitor. Has a room 'arranged' for him. Paul, of course, 'gets together' with Tatania, the lusty mistress of Dracula. Then all hell breaks loose.
Two interesting scenes worth seeing:
(1) There is a wonderful scene of the stereotyped igor-like man-servant cleaning up the gruesome dead body of Dracula's victim. Considering the large number of victims in his castle that SOMEBODY has to clean up the mess!
(2) Christopher Lee, as Count Dracula, has placed a sword in the fire (for torture purposes). Heated to a red-hot glow, Lee pulls the sword out of the fire and holds it in a dramatic, firey pose for a few seconds before putting it to use. 32 years later, Christopher Lee, as Count Dooku, holds his red light saber in the same position!
Paul's friends try to save him and end up in a dramatic final confrontation on the castle roof.
The ending, the ignorant, tiresome townspeople and all of the womanizing make this only average.
***SPOILER*** The ending was pathetic. Dracula gets struck by lightening and falls into the castle moat!! Come on!
Having seen most of the Hammer "Dracula" series with Christopher Lee as the Count, I always look for something different to catch my interest. For Dracula, outside of a very unusual ending for him, it was a standard Vampire feature with one exception, the man servant Klove. Patrick Troughton played the character Klove and gave this film that little extra which made watching this film a worthwhile venture. Klove cherishes a small picture with a picture of a young woman left by one of the victims of the Count. He falls in love with this woman. One day, this woman arrives at the castle, Dracula. He is told by his master the Count to remove her cross from her neck when she is sleeping. Poor Klove, he must decide to help his love or Dracula, he chooses the woman. Dracula punishes Klove with a whipping and burning on his back leaving huge scars. He still manages to help the woman escape the castle. But the woman returns and Klove must chose again. Klove is the only person with the knowledge of how to defeat his master. Will Klove chose love over the pain? A good performance by Troughton. Enjoy!
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