Scars of Dracula (1970)

Rating:

UK. 1970.

Crew

Director – Roy Ward Baker, Screenplay – John Elder [Anthony Hinds], Producer – Aida Young, Photography – Moray Grant, Music – James Bernard, Music Supervisor – Philip Martell, Special Effects – Roger Dicken, Makeup – Wally Schneidermann, Art Direction – Scott MacGregor. Production Company – Hammer/EMI Film Productions

Cast

Christopher Lee (Count Dracula), Dennis Waterman (Simon Carlson), Jenny Hanley (Sarah Framsen), Christopher Matthews (Paul Carlson), Patrick Troughton (Klove), Michael Gwynn (Priest), Wendy Hamilton (Julie), Anoushka Hempel (Tania)


Plot

After being caught in bed with the burgomaster’s daughter, Paul Carlson flees by jumping into a nearby coach. This deposits him near Castle Dracula where he becomes Dracula’s latest victim. His brother Simon and Simon’s fiancee come searching for him and end up being drawn into the fight against Count Dracula.


Scars of Dracula was the sixth Hammer Dracula film. After a series of reasonably strong entries up until then, Scars of Dracula is the point that is generally measured among Anglo-horror afficionados as being the start of the decline of the series. Indeed, some critics regard Scars of Dracula as the worst entry in the Hammer Dracula series.

Scars of Dracula proceeds at a tired and sedate pace as though nobody was much interested any more. Indeed, this is the last entry in the Hammer Dracula series made in the traditional sense – the subsequent films seem to be trying to inject some element of novelty such as bringing Dracula into the modern day or pitting him against kung fu. The budget seems stretched in trying to drum up the usual plush interiors and there is a very unconvincing bat on a wire effect. Christopher Lee lends his regal, magisterial presence without ever finding anything to do in the film.

The story does try to return somewhat to Bram Stoker with mysterious coach trips and with Dracula as courteous host with attendant bride – the film even takes the scene from the Stoker novel where Dracula is seen scaling a wall like a fly. However, the story never amounts to more than sundry runnings around the village and castle interspersed with random neck chompings. The story also seems dependent on an inordinate number of unattended coaches left waiting about for people to get inside them. There is also a much higher degree of sex and sadism than in any other entry in the series.

Hammer’s other Dracula films are:– Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Dracula – Prince of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula/Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride (1973) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires/The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula (1974).

Roy Ward Baker became one of the prominent directors to rise in the latter decade of the Anglo-horror industry. Elsewhere, Baker made Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years to Earth (1967), Moon Zero Two (1969), The Vampire Lovers (1970), Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires/The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula (1974) at Hammer; Asylum (1972), … And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973), The Vault of Horror (1973) at Amicus; and the post-Amicus The Monster Club (1980).



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