Director: Alan Gibson
Writer: Don Houghton
Cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Neame, Michael Coles, Marsha Hunt, Caroline Munro, Janet Key, William Ellis, Philip Miller, Michael Kitchen, David Andrews, Lally Bowers, Constance Luttrell, Michael Daly, Artro Morris, Jo Richardson, Penny Brahms, Brian John Smith, and Stoneground
Composer: Michael Vickers
Release Date: 9/28/1972
MPAA Rating: PG
One hundred years after his decisive battle with Lawrence Van Helsing, Count Dracula returns to life with the assistance of Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame)—descended from a first-generation servant of Dracula. Seeking vengeance on the family responsible for his demise, Dracula attempts to kidnap and transform the young Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham)—daughter of Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and great-great-granddaughter of Lawrence Van Helsing—into a vampire.
Though elevated by the gravitas of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, this film is a subpar entry in Hammer’s Dracula series. Notably, modern audiences may condemn Dracula A.D. 1972 for its dated cultural references, drawn-out sequences, and awkward music choices.
Similar to Taste the Blood of Dracula, this offering contains a spooky black mass that benefits from many effective horror tropes: a chalice filled with gore, an abandoned church marked with demonic symbols, and an incantation to raise Count Dracula from his grave. (Viewers may, however, criticize the resurrection ritual for its goofy and incongruous background score, which hampers the atmosphere of an otherwise dark and ominous scene.)
Despite introducing Count Dracula into a late 20th-century setting, this film fails to deliver on its intriguing premise. Specifically, Dracula remains confined to a deconsecrated church following his reemergence, preventing him from reacting to the changes in culture, technology, and human behavior that would have occurred during his century-long absence. (Both Blacula and Scream Blacula Scream, in contrast, include many opportunities for Mamuwalde—an 18th-century prince turned into a vampire by Dracula himself—to interact with modern society in a clever and worthwhile fashion.)
Dracula A.D. 1972 operates on a creative and original narrative concept. Nevertheless, this film is marred by missed opportunities and gratuitous highlights of early 1970s pop culture.
Overall Quality: 4/10
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