Taste The Blood Of Dracula
Taste The Blood Of Dracula – 1970 | 95 mins | Horror | Colour
By the late 60s Christopher Lee‘s disenchantment with Hammer was strong, so the studio fashioned a script in which Dracula did not appear, his mantle being assumed by a young disciple called Lord Courtenay. This economising was scuppered when Hammer’s American sponsors, Warner Bros, insisted on Lee’s participation. So, straight after completing El Conde Drcicula in Barcelona, he arrived at Elstree in November for a fourth engagement as the Hammer Count. Just as well, since Taste the Blood of Dracula is the best of Hammer’s Lee/Dracula follow-ups by a wide margin.
Debut feature director Peter Sasdy gives the film a murky atmosphere, and though it never quite lives up to its brilliantly staged opening scenes, the film’s powerful attack on Victorian hypocrisy and variation on the idea of the decadent,aristocratic Dracula being a threat to the sanctity of the middle class family highlights an intriguing aspect of Hammer’s vampire mythology. Of the cast, Christopher Lee is given little to do apart from look suavely menacing in the shadows. Geoffrey Keen is quite memorable as patriarch William Hargood, the biggest hypocrite of the three businessmen, whilst Ralph Bates also offers a wonderfully degenerate and petulant Lord Courtley. The Hammer series continued with Scars of Dracula (1970).
Weller (Roy Kinnear), a travelling salesman from London, is thrown from a horse-drawn carriage and regains consciousness after dusk. He hears screaming in the vicinity, and when he goes to investigate, he witnesses the death of Count Dracula (Christopher Lee). He collects the ring, cloak and a phial of dried blood from the remains and subsequently returns to England. In London, under the guise of charity work, three pillars of the community Hargood, Paxton and Secker pay monthly visits to a classy East End bordello. There, the trio of Victorian thrill-seekers encounter the disreputable Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates).
Courtley offersthe three wealthy and ‘respectable’ gentlemen a genuine thrill – the opportunity to participate in a blood-drinking Black Mass. They buy the artefacts from Weller and partake in a resurrection ceremony performed in a derelict church. Disgusted by the procedure, the three men batter Dracula’s disciple to death and flee. The Count is resurrected through Courtley’s corpse and swears vengeance against the three men, seducing and corrupting their daughters, and using their own children to kill them.
Peter Sasdy: Director
Arthur Grant: Cinematography
Chris Barnes: Film Editing
Gerry Fletcher: Makeup Department
Mary Bredin: Makeup Department
James Bernard: Original Music
Aida Young: Producer
Scott MacGregor: Production Design
Anthony Hinds: Script
Ron Barron: Sound Department
Keith Batten: Sound Department
Roy Hyde: Sound Department
Tony Lumkin: Sound Department