Saturday, 12 April 2008

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

Taste the Blood of Dracula is a fairly typical entry in the Hammer Dracula cycle, with a couple of interesting features. A group of middle-aged and very respectable middle-class men are actually notorious rakes who haunt London’s brothels looking for the thrills offered by sex and wickedness. They’re becoming a bit jaded, so when a dissolute young lord offers them the chance to do something really evil they jump at it. I mean, raising Count Dracula from the dead has to be fun, and what could go wrong? Compared to most of the Hammer vampire movies this one is more sympathetic to the vampires (the revived Count loses no time in recruiting an undead army of attractive young ladies) and much less sympathetic to those ostensibly on the side of law and order and decency. The determination of the middle-aged fathers to exert their power and their discipline over their daughters is especially creepy, and leads to a one of the more memorable staking scenes in a Hammer film.

Christopher Lee has never really impressed me in the Hammer Dracula films (although I thought he was great playing the same role for Jess Franco), and Taste the Blood of Dracula dies nothing to make me revise my opinion. Still, there’s a strong supporting cast, Peter Sasdy’s direction is competent if uninspired, the presumably deconsecrated church in which Dracula has taken up residence looks good, and there’s plenty of entertainment.

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