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*** 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.
As a big fan of Dracula movies, I enjoyed this movie. That said, as an
objective movie viewer, I can say this film wasn't anything great. Just
Many like to rip on the later Christopher Lee Dracula film "Satanic Rites of Dracula", but I actually found that far more entertaining.
Nontheless, if you are a fan of Dracula films, this is still worth watching. Casual viewers may want to pick another Vamp flick.
This is a really good Hammer Horror Dracula film. It is the 5th in the
Christopher Lee Dracula series and a devilishly delightful one at that!
In this one, we finally get to see Dracula on screen more often and
hear him speak quite a bit more too. This 5th Lee Dracula film is
definitely an excellent, solid Dracula flick.
This is a film that critics and fans of Lee's Dracula seems to be split on - some loved it, other hated it. It's really best for the viewer to decide if they liked the movie or not... just like any other film. I am personally pleased with the "Scars of Dracula".
Although "Scars" picks up where "Taste the Blood" left off you really don't have to watch any of the other Lee Dracula films to know what is going on in "Scars".
By now Hammer had taken to inserting the Dracula character and mythology into existing and otherwise unrelated scripts they had in development. This was one of the better amalgamations mostly because the wonderful Christopher Lee was given significantly more screen time in his signature role although some critics have faulted the film for it's more violent tone. Truthfully, by today's standards it's quite tame by comparison. After a bat bleeding onto the remains of the ancient vampire restores him to undead life, a pair of adventurous brothers find themselves captured by Count Dracula while exploring his castle in Transylvania. The Scars of Dracula was released as a double feature with Hammer's The Horror of Frankenstein.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In spite of Christopher Lee's greater than usual screen time and
Patrick Troughton's presence, this is by far my least favourite of the
Hammer Dracula series. It's a rather uninspired affair. It seems like a
hodge-podge of the best bits from the previous five films. It's
basically Hammer by numbers. This is an observation rather than a
criticism but it's a bit odd that this is the third consecutive
"Dracula" film with a major character named Paul! Dennis Waterman is
badly miscast as the very post and boring Simon Carlson. It's probably
most notable for being Hammer stalwart Michael Ripper's final horror
film for the company. He's as good as ever in his rather lacklustre
On the bright side, Christopher Lee is still as wonderfully creepy and entertaining as Count Dracula as usual, in spite of the fact that he had seemingly tired of the role by this point. I liked the fact that it hearkened back to the novel (as well as the first film) in portraying Dracula as an elegant host. This is the first time that he has actually said more than a few, short lines to someone (other than one of his minions) since his conversation with Jonathan Harker in the original film. His death scene was awesome, the best sequence in the film. Patrick Troughton is excellent as is Michael Gwynn as the priest. I've never seen Jenny Hanley in anything before and I was struck by how much she resembled her mother Dinah Sheridan.
'Scars Of Dracula' was the last Hammer Dracula period piece. The next in the series 'Dracula A.D. 1972' was an unsuccessful attempt to set the series in the present day, and probably the worst Hammer movie I've seen to date. 'Scars...' is much better than '1972' but not as great as 'Dracula: Prince Of Darkness', which in my opinion the best of the lot. This was Christopher Lee's fifth time playing the Count and he is just terrific. He doesn't appear for about half an hour but as soon as he does the movie kicks into gear. I also enjoyed Patrick Troughton (Dr Who #2) as Dracula's pathetic slave/servant Klove. The main reason 'Scars...' disappoints slightly is that the baddies are wonderful, but the good guys are dull. Dennis Waterman (later to find British TV fame in 'The Sweeney' and 'Minder') isn't much of a Hammer leading man, and neither is Christopher Matthews who plays his womanizing brother. The leading lady Jenny Hanley is pretty but a bit wet, and certainly not your typical Hammer vixen. Anouska Hempel IS, but she's given very little on screen time. The supporting cast includes Hammer regular Michael Ripper, and also an amusing cameo from Bob Todd who Benny Hill fans will recognize. Roy Ward Baker directed two of the best Hammer movies in 'Quatermass And The Pit' and 'The Vampire Lovers', but 'Scars Of Dracula' isn't of the same standard. Maybe with a better cast and a bigger budget it could have been improved, but as it stands I'd say it's only average. Anyway, average Hammer to me is still more entertaining than most of today's lame horror output, and how can any horror buff not get a kick out of watching Christopher Lee as Dracula?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"A Night to Remember" director Roy Ward Baker helmed the liveliest
"Dracula" sequel, "Scars of Dracula," with Christopher Lee reprising
the role for the fifth time in the Hammer Films franchise. "Scars of
Dracula" followed "Taste the Blood of Dracula" but preceded "Dracula,
1972 A.D." For the record, Dracula's groveling custodian bears most of
those titular scars. Whether he went by his real name Anthony Hinds or
his pseudonym John Elder, Hinds/Elder penned a screenplay far more
ambitious and audacious in its scope, violence, horror, and sex than
earlier "Dracula" movies. Mind you, despite its cheesy bat massacre,
"Scars of Dracula" qualifies as the bloodiest Hammer film. Moreover,
"Scars of Dracula" was the first to receive an R-rating in the United
States. Dracula punishes his disobedient caretaker by applying the
red-hot sword to his back. Further, the caretaker accepts his
punishment as if he approved of being punished. Can we say masochism?
Of course, the bats are hopelessly phony. Nevertheless, the scene where
a bat mauls the face of the priest in the church like a piranha is
terrific. The clergy had come under increasing attack in 1970s movies.
This scene alone should have landed the film on the video nasties list
in Great Britain. Indeed, "Scars of Dracula" is the most supernatural
of Hammer's "Dracula" franchise. Ultimately, it is the one "Dracula"
film from Hammer where the Count boasts more screen time than usual. He
also has a fiery death scene that suggests greater powers were at work
to vanquish him since mere mortals could not finish him off.
Inevitably, this quasi-invincibility added stature to Christopher Lee's
The opening gambit could easily have provided material for an entire movie. Although it somewhat picks up the narrative thread from the previous London-based Dracula opus, "Scars of Dracula" takes place primarily in rural Europe as earlier "Dracula" movies. A farmer's daughter has been killed by a vampire. The introductory credits appear as her sad father totes her lifeless remains to the village. The inn landlord (Michael Ripper of "The Creeping Flesh") assembles the villagers. They load up both sufficient fuel and timber, march Dracula's castle through the woods, trick Dracula's custodian into letting them inside and set fire to the premises. Of course, their well-intentioned efforts avail them little because Dracula rests in a chamber with no door, accessible only by a high window. Ironically, before he allowed them to approach the castle, the priest uttered a prayer to protect his flock. When they return triumphantly from Dracula's castle, the priest congratulates them on the success of their mission. "We must give thanks," the priest rejoices, "thanks to our savior for his protection." The villagers agree. The priest turns to leave with them. "Let us go to our church and tell our loved ones they are safe." Initially, before he supervised their departure, the landlord ordered his wife Marie (television actress Margo Boht) to gather the rest of the village into the church. The last thing that the landlord could imagine happened. No sooner have they opened the church doors than four vampire bats swoop out past them. The men discover that the rest of the villagers lay blood-splattered and dead in the house of worship. Never have so many people been slaughtered during the first ten minutes in a Hammer "Dracula!"
The resurrection scene in "Scars of Dracula" has got to be the most outrageous of the franchise. A blood-dripping vampire bat shows up (whether by devilish designs or otherwise we never learn) at the place where Dracula died in "Taste the Blood of Dracula" and pukes blood on the Count's remains. Presto, Count Dracula is reconstituted into an immaculate Christopher Lee. Let the blood-sucking begin! Meanwhile, a carefree young Lothario, Paul Carlson (Christopher Matthews of "Scream and Scream Again"), finds himself fleeing from the Burgomaster (Bob Todd of "Burke & Hare") because the Burgomaster's daughter, Alice (Delia Lindsay of "The Devil's Widow"), has accused him of wantonly having his way with her. Alice runs around with a bed sheet concealing her breasts and vagina. However, she cavorts about with her plucky buttocks bare for all-to-see in two shots as she leaves a room and romps up some stairs. The Burgomaster's men pursue Paul, and he makes a momentary appearance at birthday party for a girlfriend, Sarah, and then leaps from a high window into a stagecoach that takes him off deep stumbles into the woods.
Paul has no luck finding anybody who will give him shelter. Predictably, things get worse. Eventually, he takes refuge at the worst place imaginable--Dracula's castle. Dracula is very civil to him when he arrives. Indeed, Dracula's dark-haired hostess, Tania, decides to sleep with Paul. The Count catches them in bed together and his rage at seeing what she had planned to do to Paul prompts Dracula to stab her "Psycho" style repeatedly before he quenches his lust for her blood. This is the first time that Dracula has behaved in this fashion. In "Horror of Dracula," he drove a vampire woman from sinking her fangs into Jonathan Harker. Presumably, since she had slept with him, Dracula was punishing her for cheating on him. Eventually, Paul's brother Simon (Dennis Waterman of "Man in the Wilderness") sets out to find him with Sarah Framsen (Jenny Hanley of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service") tagging along despite Simon's protests. Meantime, Paul discovers Dracula's coffin in a room that has no door. Klove (Patrick Troughton of "The Omen") explains that the Master sleeps where nobody can reach him. Baker stages a neat scene where we see Dracula leaving through the window of his room and scaling the architecture to the windows above. Actually, Bram Stoker wrote about Dracula's ability to scale walls.
"Scars of Dracula" qualifies as one of the best of the Hammer "Dracula" films.
This film begins with perhaps the most bizarre resurrection scene in a
Dracula film that I can recall. A giant cheap plastic bat hovers over
the powdered remains of Drac and then the bat starts puking blood on
the remains--at which point the body reconstitutes itself. Weird AND
stupid due to the $3.98 spent on "special effects".
After this inauspicious beginning, the killing naturally begins. The nearby townspeople prove that they've never read any vampire novels or seen any Dracula films. They attack the castle (a good idea) and they light it on fire (a dumb and pointless idea). No stake in the heart, no holy water, no garlic,...not even a flaming bag of poo on the front steps...nothing other than tossing some torches into the castle. And, surprise, surprise, this ticks off the Price of Darkness (duh)--resulting in a splendid little massacre. And, considering the half-hearted attack on the vampire, I think they kind of deserved this.
What follows is a tiny bit of gratuitous nudity (heck, it WAS made in 1970 as apparently they'd just invented sex) and the story itself finally gets going. What follows is pretty typical of the Hammer Film Studios Dracula films. Christopher Lee is only rarely in the film and much of it consists of people stumbling along looking for their missing friend until the final confrontation which ends the vampire menace forever....or at least until the next film!
Aside from a servant for Dracula who actually manages to betray his master, there really isn't a lot innovative or memorable about the film. In fact, the end of the film is quite stupid and contradictory. First, the fake bat returns for one of the silliest death scenes in memory (the priest). Second, how Drac dies defies all lore from previous films and maybe makes the half-hearted attempt by the villagers seem not so dumb after all. The only reason this silly film, even merits a 4 is because of the exquisite supporting performance by the blonde lady's boobs--which play an amazingly prominent role in the film!!
Considering Hammer had already essentially made the the same film many times already, there isn't a lot of reason to see this particular film unless you are insanely compulsive (like me) and you want to see every Hammer film--even the highly repetitive and derivative ones.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although "Dracula" (Christopher Lee) is dead and his body has decomposed, a bat manages to spit out some blood and return him back to life--and his evil ways. Aware that he has returned, the local villagers march up to his castle and set it on fire. However, not only does the fire not reach him, but when the men return to their village they find that all of their loved ones have been killed by bats while they were gone. After that the villagers avoid the castle and Dracula, along with a servant and female follower named "Tania" (Anouska Hempel) are essentially left alone. But then one night a young man named "Paul Carlson" (Christopher Matthews) comes to visit and everything changes after that. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this film was more in line with the normal vampire traditions than the previous Hammer Films. To that end, Christopher Lee seemed to benefit the most as his performance was much more sinister. Additionally, having an attractive actress like Jenny Hanley (as "Sarah") certainly didn't hurt either. In any case, I thought this was a pretty good vampire film and I have rated it accordingly. Above average.
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