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By John Chard September 9, 2017

A misjudged mess.

Good grief! Hammer Horror Films were very much in a flux come 1972, so in a bold (yet ultimately ill conceived) attempt to move with the times and grasp a new audience, they turned to old faithful to resurrect their hopes - Count Dracula. Pic starts with an exciting prologue in 1872, where we see Dracula (Christopher Lee) and Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) battling to the death. We witness Drac's ashes buried near to the grave of Helsing, and then it's fast forward to 1972...

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time - letting loose one of the most iconic monsters in movie history in contemporary London - but it never works, lacking horror vibrancy and very much coming off as a pastiche of former glory. A rather excellent resurrection section of film aside, pic is just too quirky and kitsch for its own good, more laughable than anything remotely scary.

Other major problems hurt the possibility of enjoying it on some sort of parodic level. Dracula never actually does much, confined to a small location (again!), so not really tearing up contemporary London as it happens, while the 1972 "youths" who form the core of the narrative are actually out of date themselves! Something further compounded by the quite dreadful musical score, which should have been confined in a locked safe a decade earlier. Some of the more notable Hammer touches try to battle there way through the murk, but it's a losing battle, the company's visual identity lost amongst a daft script and cartoonish direction.

It has fans, and viewing it now some decades later one can at least embrace it with a modicum of endearment, but it's a poor pic and signals the start of a sad era for a great production company. 4/10

By talisencrw January 28, 2017

Yes, I know I'm giving this WAY TOO MANY marks, but, hey, I love all of the clashes between Sir Christopher Lee's 'Count Dracula' and Sir Peter Cushing's 'Van Helsing' (perhaps the greatest characterizations of those two characters, over a series of films, in cinema), and the then-contemporary (now almost 45 years ago!) update certainly is intriguing. So sue me.

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