18 April 2014

Scars of Dracula (1970)
95 min.
Directed by Roy Ward Baker.
With Christopher Lee, Jenny Hanley, Dennis Waterman, Christopher Matthews, Patrick Troughton, Michael Gwynn, Wendy Hamilton, Michael Ripper, Anouska Hempel.
This sixth entry in Hammer's Dracula series - the fifth to feature Lee as the Count - is a much bloodier affair than previous efforts.

Resurrected from his eternal slumber by an aggressive & interfering bat, the Count (now very much in need of some Visine) attempts to assuage his eternal bloodlust once more.

When young wayward Paul (Matthews) spends a night in Castle Dracula, and never emerges alive, his brother Simon (Waterman) and girlfriend Sarah (Hanley) go looking for him.

But are they prepared for the horrors they'll discover at the gothic castle atop the mountain?

Are they really any match for Dracula? Hint: turns out they'll fare better than you think. (Actually, a lightning bolt helps out too.)

Scars of Dracula is certainly not the strongest link in Hammer's long running series.

There's a cheapness to the production that undermines its ability to generate any believable amount of suspense or fear.

Frankly, we see too much of Lee in this one, and it sabotages any element of mystery or seductive allure that the character would typically bring. Nevertheless, the whole thing is supported by a generous whiff of reliability, courtesy of the previous five entries in the franchise.

That is, we're willing to go with the flow of Scars, because of the legacy of what's come before, and the fact that we know more will follow. Namely, Dracula A.D. 1972 released in, well, 1972.

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