Director – Alan Gibson (Tales of the Unexpected, Thursday Theatre)
Starring – Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, The Wicker Man), Peter Cushing (The Curse of Frankenstein, The Hounds of Baskervilles), and Michael Coles (Dr. Who and the Daleks, The Baron)
Release Date – 1973
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Vampire and vampire hunter meet in one final, bloody conflict!”
After checking out a short indie horror production I decided to toss in another Hammer Dracula flick. I was having way too much fun with these films and couldn’t wait to toss in another one. After watching a few of the Warner Brothers and Scream Factory releases I went ahead and tossed in the next film in the series.
Next up is the 1973 The Satanic Rites of Dracula release from Warner Brothers as part of their Archive Collection series. This is one I had seen on numerous occasions. I had owned this on VHS as a child and bought the DVD in middle school at Rite Aid of all places that was part of their Halloween display. The VHS and DVD quality was on the bad side so I was excited to upgrade to blu. Thanks WB for sending this one over.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Scotland Yard who finds themselves in the middle of a murder that looks like it was caused by a vampire. They seek the help of Abraham Van Helsing’s descendent. Van Helsing works with Scotland Yard to track down the culprit only to uncover that Dracula is once again alive and plans on using a more potent strain of the black plague to wipe out the Earth. **Spoiler Alert**
The Satanic Rites of Dracula is one I had watched several times as a kid before I started collection Hammer horror flicks. I remember getting the VHS at a yard sale or flea market in Tennessee when I was a kid and watching it at my grandmother’s. It wasn’t the best movie but it was awesome getting to watch a horror movie as such a young age. Nostalgia aside, this is not the best in the Hammer line nor is it close to being the best in the Dracula franchise.
The acting in this one is one of the better acted films in the franchise. I know that’s just my opinion but I really enjoyed the characters we get when compared to previous installments. Van Helsing, though Cushing is portraying a descendant, delivers the same performance we got in the previous films featuring his character. He does a fantastic job. The supporting cast is solid as well. I really enjoyed their performances.
The story for this one is the second, I believe, that brings Dracula into the modern age. I was unable to watch a few of the films in this series but I do believe that the first is Dracula A.D. 1972 which was released one year before this one. I actually like the approach Hammer took at updating their franchise that had ran for almost 20 years but the movie does feel a bit stale by this point.
Finally, the film does have some blood and some practical effects that re very dated. There was several occasions where the effects had me rolling my eyes even as a kid. I still feel the same way after watching it all these years later. The effects seem rushed and half assed. Overall, The Satanic Rites of Dracula is probably the most well known release from the Hammer Dracula series due to the availability of the multiple VHS and DVD releases but is easily the worst in the series. It is still a fun watch but don’t expect the same quality as the previous films.