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 Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing (a ...
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Three distinguished English gentlemen accidentally resurrect Count Dracula, killing a disciple of his in process. The Count seeks to avenge his dead servant, by making the trio die in the hands of their own children.
A young man, Paul Carlson, is on a trip and spends the night at Count Dracula's castle. He is murdered. After some time has passed, the young man's brother Simon comes to the small town ... See full summary »
Roy Ward Baker
When Castle Dracula is exorcised by the Monsignor, it accidentally brings the Count back from the dead. Dracula follows the Monsignor back to his hometown, preying on the holy man's beautiful niece and her friends.
Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses, forcing his colleague Dr. Van Helsing to destroy the predatory villain when he targets Harker's loved ones.
Baron Frankenstein is once again working with illegal medical experiments. Together with a young doctor, Karl and his fiancée Anna, they kidnap the mentally sick Dr. Brandt, to perform the ... See full summary »
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 Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing (a descendant of the great vampire-hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing) to help them put a stop to these hideous crimes. It becomes apparent that the culprit is Count Dracula, 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>
The original UK cinema print was cut by the BBFC to heavily edit the opening sacrifice scene, 2 staking scenes and the electrocution of a guard (the proposed cuts to the shooting of Torrence were never made). For the video release the same cut print was submitted and cut by a further 1 sec to remove a shot of Jane's exposed breast being pierced with a stake. See more »
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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