22 November 2014

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
91 min.
Directed by Peter Sasdy.
With Christopher Lee, Ralph Bates, Linda Hayden, Anthony Corlan, Geoffrey Keen, Peter Sallis, John Carson, Gwen Watford, Michael Ripper, Isla Blair.
In Victorian England, a trio of thrillseeking aristocratic esthetes enlist the aid of the strange Lord Courtley (Bates) in the hopes that he'll provide them with some super unique entertainment.

And so he does.

He delivers unto them the powdered blood of the fallen Count Dracula! And, in a dark ritual, Courtley successfully re-animates everyone's favorite Prince of Darkness.

But something goes wrong, and Courtley dies during the ceremony. Now back from the dead, the ravenous Dracula (Lee) vows revenge on the three fat cats who caused the death of his beloved ward!

A follow up to Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), this fifth entry in Hammer's Dracula series is pretty decent.

Director Sasdy imbues the scenes of Courtley's black mass with electrical energy; equally good are the sequences inside the city brothel, full of Cabaret-style excess and decadence.

By this point in the series, Lee is clearly dialed in to the role of the bloodthirsty Count and knows just what buttons to push, when to push them, and when to withdraw.

The supporting cast is solid too - even if Bates is underused, and Cushing is sorely missed here. Good, fun stuff.

Incidentally, Sasdy would prove no stranger to either the Hammer canon, or horror in general, going on to helm such vehicles as the excellent period slasher Hands of the Ripper (1971), and also the offbeat Devil Within Her (1975).

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