Director: Peter Sasdy
Writer: John Elder
Cast: Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden, Peter Sallis, Anthony Corlan, Isla Blair, John Carson, Martin Jarvis, Ralph Bates, Roy Kinnear, Michael Ripper, Russell Hunter, Shirley Jaffe, Keith Marsh, Peter May, Reginald Barratt, Maddy Smith, Lai Ling, and Malaika Martin
Composer: James Bernard
Release Date: 5/7/1970
MPAA Rating: R
Looking for excitement, gentlemen William Hargood (Geoffrey Keen), Samuel Paxton (Peter Sallis), and Jonathon Secker (John Carson) join Devil worshipper Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates) on his mission to bring Count Dracula back to life. While performing a ritual ceremony, however, Courtley is accidentally killed by his three distinguished guests—with a terrible outcome for William’s daughter Alice (Linda Hayden), Samuel’s son Paul (Anthony Corlan), and Jonathon’s son Jeremy (Martin Jarvis), now targeted by a vengeful Dracula.
Combining vampire tropes with satanic undertones, this film offers a clever and original update on Hammer’s Dracula series. That being said, Taste the Blood of Dracula may invite criticism for its confusing and anticlimactic final scene.
Providing a detailed and compelling explanation for the return of its eponymous vampire, Taste the Blood of Dracula deserves praise for its plausible resurrection angle—in contrast to Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, which includes a hackneyed and unlikely scenario for Dracula’s reemergence. Notably, the character of Lord Courtley sets up a meticulous plan involving the remains of Dracula, a satanic black mass, and three perverse old men seeking the thrill of a lifetime—aspects that help establish a suspenseful and demonic atmosphere prior to Dracula’s arrival.
This offering is marred by an illogical premise, even by the standards of a Hammer Dracula film. Specifically, astute viewers will question why Count Dracula, a vampire with no loyalty to humans, goes to extraordinary lengths in order to avenge the murder of Courtley—a pathetic and weak-minded servant.
Also uneven is the pacing of this film, which contains a drawn-out middle act—at which point Dracula begins to punish William Hargood, Samuel Paxton, and Jonathon Secker for their involvement in Courtley’s death.
Depicting Christian iconography as the Achilles heel of Count Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula alludes to a spiritual conflict between good and evil—a subtext of almost every supernatural horror film.
Taste the Blood of Dracula should be commended for its dark and ominous narrative, which makes a distinct connection between Count Dracula and the Devil himself. Modern audiences may nevertheless condemn this film, which suffers from slow-moving sequences and puzzling character moments—especially concerning the motivations of Dracula.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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