Any film set in present day will always date quicker than a film set in the past. "Dracula A.D. 72" suffers in this respect more than "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" as the former features a supposedly wild gang of hippies who are in fact nothing of the kind (one of which includes a very young Michael Kitchen, years before "Foyle's War"). "The Satanic Rites" of Dracula", however, largely escapes this fate (apart from the motorcycle hit men with a dodgy preference for fur-lined waist coats and long sideburns). I still enjoy "Dracula A.D. 72" nonetheless even though I would class it as very much a guilty pleasure. The "Satanic Rites of Dracula" is literally another story however.
One of the highpoints of "Dracula A.D. 72" however is the stylish direction of Canadian director Alan Gibson and Hammer brought him back to helm this final Hammer Dracula (unless you count (sorry) Dracula's cameo appearance in "The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires"). Thanks to Gibson, several scenes here work wonderfully (the scene in which Joanna Lumley is menaced in the cellar by the female vampires is particularly well done and the scene in which William Franklyn's character is shot in slow motion was obviously Gibson's idea of an homage to Sam Peckinpah which I promise you you will never see in another Hammer film).
In fact, this film is different from nearly all the other Hammer films in a number of ways. It's probably one of the best photographed of all the Hammer films, thanks to cameraman Brian Probyn who had photographed some of Terence Malick's seminal masterpiece "Badlands". The film has a glossy look the belies the small amount of money that was probably spent on making it. In fact, the whole style of the film is different. One of the previous posters here has likened it to an episode of "The Avengers" (rather appropriate as Joanna Lumley, here playing Peter Cushing's granddaughter, Jessica Van Helsing, would go on to play Purdey in "The New Avengers" just a few years later). I'd agree with that and as a result the story plays more as a thriller rather than the standard Hammer Gothic horror. I always thought that bringing Dracula into the present day is a spectacularly bad idea, but if you are going to do it, then the way it is done here works fine. The idea of presenting Dracula as a present day Howard Hughes, hardly seen by anyone is a good idea (a real bloodsucking businessman, that has to be a first). And John Cacavas' music is effective, even though it is completely different to Hammer regular James Bernard's usual style (then again so was Mike Vickers' music in "Dracula A.D. 72").
Acting wise, Lee and Cushing are the usual class acts (Lee as usual has little to do other than quote a few lines from Stoker's original when given the chance). Michael Coles, William Franklyn, Freddie Jones and Joanna Lumley are good in support (even though Lumley's responsible character of Jessica Van Helsing seems to have changed radically from Stephanie Beacham's rebellious portrayal in "Dracula A.D. 72" - still perhaps nearly falling victim to a vampire does that to a girl). And Valerie Van Ost makes a great vampire (once she takes those glasses off, she's beautiful - who knew?) If you approach this film as a thriller rather than the traditional Hammer fare, I think you will enjoy it. Just as long as you don't expect any villagers with torches to turn up in the third act (although Pelham House does go up in flames anyway - unlike certain vampires, some traditions never die).