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The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

R | | Horror | October 1978 (USA)
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In London in the 1970s, Scotland Yard police investigators think they have uncovered a case of vampirism. They call in an expert vampire researcher named Van Helsing (a descendant of the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Michael Coles ...
William Franklyn ...
...
...
...
Mathews
Barbara Yu Ling ...
Patrick Barr ...
Lord Carradine
Richard Mathews ...
Porter
Lockwood West ...
Valerie Van Ost ...
Jane
Maurice O'Connell ...
Hanson
Peter Adair ...
Doctor
Maggie Fitzgerald ...
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Storyline

In London in the 1970s, Scotland Yard police investigators think they have uncovered a case of vampirism. They call in an expert vampire researcher named Van Helsing (a descendant of the great vampire-hunter himself, no less) to help them put a stop to these hideous crimes. It becomes apparent that the culprit is Count Dracula himself, disguised as a reclusive property developer, but secretly plotting to unleash a fatal virus upon the world. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Evil begets evil on the sabbath of the undead! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was John Harvey's final Hammer film. See more »

Goofs

When Jessica is attacked by the female vampires in the basement of the sinister cult house, the brunette vampire menacing her from the rear is missing an important bit of anatomy- vampire fangs. See more »

Quotes

Count Dracula: [to Van Helsing] My revenge has spread over centuries and has just begun!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Hammer Films (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Ignore the naysayers - one of Hammer's best
2 February 2004 | by (Wolverhampton, England) – See all my reviews

The accepted wisdom regarding the Hammer Dracula pictures is that they started great, tailed off to good, and, by the time the 70's rolled round, were stinkers. Well, sorry friends, but this time the accepted wisdom is wrong.

Personally, I have never been a great fan of Vampire films in general and Dracula in particular. The vast majority of the Hammer fang flicks bore me rigid (I like the Frankenstein's though - especially 'and the monster from Hell'). And I've always thought that Chris Lee was far better employed in other roles. But 'The Satanic rites of Dracula' represents the best of Hammer and Lee.

For me, one of it's major strengths is that Dracula remains implied rather than seen until the last third of the film. Instead, we view the sinister workings of his organization and it's minions. Lee appears after the first 30 minutes, in a short and ineffective scene in which he emerges from a puff of smoke to claim a kidnapped damsel, and then disappears again for another 30. This brief, unsatisfactory piece of business was presumably inserted to reassure punters who were worried that half an hour had elapsed without presenting the title character. Personally, I'd cut it to make an even better film.

The withholding of the chief vampire manages to build up a real sense of atmosphere and some genuine foreboding, which pays off well in the great little sequence where Cushing's Van Helsing finally confronts the Count, who has been operating under the funky moniker of D.D. Denham. A simple but very effectively staged episode with Pete n' Chris on top form.

The film as a whole is well shot and cut by ex-'Avengers' man Alan Gibson, who creates an effectively bleak and chilly atmosphere through good location work (a seemingly deserted London and Dracula's spooky country retreat) and some well designed interiors (hidden, seedy MI5 offices and Dracula's business headquarters). The tone and 'feel' of the picture is nicely established by the opening credits sequence. Again, simple but effective.

There are good performances by Cushing, Lee, William Franklyn, Freddie Jones and Michael Coles. Even Joanna Lumley. A modicum of 70's cheese, as evidenced by the vampire brides sequence and John Cacavas' cool 'chicka-wah' score, enriches, rather than taints, the whole experience. And some choice lines of fruity dialogue raise an occasional delighted grin. I've seen the film numerous times over the past 11 or 12 years and for me it never palls.

Along with 'Captain Kronos', definitely one of Hammers best.


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