Taste the Blood of Dracula
Taste the blood of dracula.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Sasdy
Written byAnthony Hinds (as John Elder)
Bram Stoker (character)
Produced byAida Young
StarringChristopher Lee
Linda Hayden
Geoffrey Keen
Gwen Watford
CinematographyArthur Grant
Edited byChris Barnes
Music byJames Bernard
Production
company
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
Warner Bros. Pictures (US & Worldwide)
Release date
  • 7 May 1970 (1970-05-07) (UK)
Running time
91 minutes (cut, US)
95 minutes (uncut, UK)
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Taste the Blood of Dracula is a 1970 British supernatural horror film produced by Hammer Film Productions. Directed by Peter Sasdy from a script by Anthony Hinds, it is the fifth installment in Hammer's Dracula series, and the fourth to star Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, the titular vampire. The film also features Geoffrey Keen and Gwen Watford.

Taste the Blood of Dracula was released on a double bill alongside Crescendo, another Hammer production. It was followed by Scars of Dracula, also released in 1970.

Plot

While travelling through Eastern Europe, a businessman named Weller is thrown from his carriage during a struggle and knocked unconscious. After regaining consciousness, he discovers it is night time. Shortly after, Weller sees a caped figure screaming in agony with a large crucifix impaling him from the back (it matches to some extent with the ending of the previous film : Dracula Has Risen from the Grave). The figure dies and quickly disintegrates. Examining the remains, Weller finds a ring, a cape and a brooch with dried blood on it. On the brooch, he reads the name Dracula.

Some time later, three gentlemen—William Hargood, Samuel Paxton and Jonathon Secker— form a circle ostensibly devoted to charitable work. In reality, they visit brothels. One night, they are intrigued by a young man who bursts into the brothel and is immediately tended to after snapping his fingers. The gentlemen turns out to be Lord Courtley, who was disinherited by his father for celebrating a Black Mass years ago.

Courtley meets the three and takes them to the Cafe Royal. He promises them experiences they will never forget if they visit Weller and purchase from him Dracula's ring, cloak and dried blood. Having done so, the three meet with Courtley at an abandoned church for a ceremony during which he puts the dried blood into goblets and mixes it with drops of his own blood, telling the men to drink. They refuse, so he drinks the blood himself, screams and falls to the ground. As he grabs for Hargood's legs, all three gentlemen kick and beat him, not stopping until Courtley dies, at which they flee. While they return to their respective homes, Courtley's body, left in the abandoned church, transforms into Dracula, who vows that those who have killed his servant will be destroyed.

Dracula begins his revenge with Hargood, a drunk who treats his daughter Alice harshly, furious that she continues to see Paul, Paxton's son. Dracula takes control of Alice's mind via hypnosis, making her pick up a shovel and kill her father. The next day, Hargood is found dead and Alice is missing. At her father's funeral, she hides behind bushes and attracts the attention of Paul's sister Lucy. That night, the two enter the abandoned church, and Alice introduces her to a dark figure. Assuming him to be Alice's lover, Lucy is greeted by Dracula, who turns her into a vampire.

With Hargood dead and Alice and Lucy missing, Paxton teams-up with Secker and visits the abandoned church. Courtley's corpse is missing but they discover Lucy asleep in a coffin with marks on her throat. Realizing she is a vampire, Secker tries to stake her, but Paxton shoots him in the arm, forcing him to flee. While Secker runs away, Paxton weeps over his daughter's body. When he finally develops the courage to stake her, she awakens, and Dracula appears. Alice pins Paxton down and Lucy drives a wooden stake through his chest, killing him. That night, Secker's son Jeremy sees Lucy, his fiancé, and approaches her. She bites his throat, enslaving him while Dracula watches. The vampire Jeremy then stabs his father to death on Lucy's orders. When she starts begging for his approval, Dracula drains her dry and leaves her destroyed. Back at the church, he prepares to bite Alice but a cock crows and he returns to his coffin.

Secker's body causes Jeremy's arrest. While traying to defend Jeremy, Paul finds letter in which Secker instructs him on how to fight the vampires. Following Secker's instructions, Paul goes to the abandoned church and finds Lucy's exsanguinated body, floating in a lake. He bars the door at the church with a large cross and clears the altar of Black Mass instruments, replacing them with the proper materials. He calls for Alice, who appears with Dracula. Paul confronts Dracula with a cross but Alice, still entranced, disarms him. Dracula dismisses her and tries to leave, but is prevented by the cross barring the door. His retreat is also barred by a cross which an angry and disappointed Alice threw to the floor. He climbs the balcony and throws objects at Paul and Alice, before backing into a stained glass window depicting a cross. He breaks the glass but suddenly sees the changed surroundings and hears the Lord's Prayer recited in Latin. Dazzled and overwhelmed by the power of the newly re-sanctified church, Dracula falls to the altar and dissolves back into dust. With the vampire destroyed, Paul and Alice leave.

Cast

Production notes

Release

Certification

In its original United States release, it was rated GP (General audience, Parental guidance suggested—the forerunner to today's PG), but when it was re-released to DVD it was rated R for sexual content/nudity and brief violence.

Critical reception

Variety wrote that director Peter Sasdy had directed his first feature film "effectively, leavening stock situations with the occasional shock twist, and has kept the Dracula pix atmosphere well." The review noted that "Christopher Lee can now play Dracula in his sleep and, in this pic, looks occasionally as if he is doing so."[4] The Monthly Film Bulletin called it "absolutely routine Hammer horror, except that the script is even more laboured than usual. Dracula himself is virtually reduced to an onlooker while the happy families decimate each other at his behest, and the only moment of inspiration is when a would-be vampire stalker is himself staked by two gleeful vampires."[5] John C. Mahoney of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the film was "superior in production, performance, story and atmosphere to the recent Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. In the title role, Christopher Lee seems to take new interest in the role with a terrifyingly bloodshot performance."[6]

The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films called the film "the finest genuine Dracula sequel in the entire [Hammer Dracula] series."[7] It currently holds a positive 67% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 12 reviews.[8]

Home media

On 6 November 2007, the movie was released in a film pack along with Dracula, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, and Dracula A.D. 1972.[9]

On 6 October 2015, the movie was released in a Hammer collection pack on Blu-ray along with Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, and The Mummy. It was also released on Blu-ray separately.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Meikle, Denis; Koetting, Christopher T. (2009). A History of Horrors: The Rise and Fall of the House of Hammer. Plymouth: Scarecrow Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-8108-6353-8. OCLC 236117422.
  2. ^ "Movie Reviews ~ "Taste the Blood of Dracula" ~ Global Gothic". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2009.
  3. ^ "Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction & Halloween Events in Los Angeles". Hollywood Gothique. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Taste The Blood of Dracula". Variety: 26. 20 May 1970.
  5. ^ "Taste The Blood of Dracula". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 37 (437): 132. June 1970.
  6. ^ Mahoney, John C. (24 September 1970) "Double Helping of Horror". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 12.
  7. ^ Hearn & Barnes 2007, p. 131.
  8. ^ "Taste the Blood of Dracula". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  9. ^ Christopher Lee (Actor), Peter Cushing (Actor) (2007). 4 Film Favorites: Draculas (Dracula A.D. 1972, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Horror of Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula) [4 Film Favorites: Draculas] (DVD Motion Picture). Burbank, California: Warner Home Video. ASIN B000U1ZV7G. ISBN 9781419859076. OCLC 801718535.

Sources