The Satanic Rites
of Dracula

Dir: Alan Gibson
Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Coles, Joanna Lumley

Hammer's attempts at updating the Dracula mythos reached their nadir with the previous Dracula AD 1972 - that they made another attempt was surprising, that it's largely a success is frankly astonishing. It's as much a thriller as a horror movie, with Coles as the cop brought in to investigate a satanic cult with high-level connections. Cushing is the occult authority, Lumley - with luridly red hair - his grand-daughter and Lee is...oh, come on, you don't need me to tell you. Though it plays fast and loose with the vampire mythos (silver? hawthorns? fire sprinklers?), Cushing is fab as usual. At one point, he has to deliver a vast chunk of expository dialogue; in lesser hands, it could easily be leaden, but he brings it alive through sheer acting ability. A good supporting cast, including William Franklin and Richard Vernon, lend weight and authority to help cover some of the flakier plot points, even if Christopher Lee's role is less than you'd expect. Nice angle on how Dracula really wants everything to end, even if means he'll starve to death, and I always enjoy a nice conspiracy sidelight, even in a vampire movie. Shame about the ending; Hammer often seemed to have problems ending their films, and this one is particularly unsatisfying. Except perhaps in a horticultural vein...


We demand...a shubbery!
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