Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dracula-thon (Part 3)

And now, the Hammer films....

Ahh, now these are the ones I like!
Christopher Lee in 99% of 'em, no decades long time gaps to account for, technicolor blood, just great, fun stuff.

Also, IMHO, the Castlevanias draw most of their inspiration from these in their overall look and feel.
So, as a fanboy for those, these are a treasure chest.

Anyway, these more or less filled the production gap between Universal's "Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein", and the 1979 Frank Langella "Dracula", remake.

The Horror Of Dracula (1958)

The film-

Ostensibly a remake of 1931's "Dracula", but the details are so scrambled, you could call it an elseworld.

In this one, Jonathan Harker gets vampirized, and staked by Van Helsing; and Van Helsing, not Quincy Morris, kills Dracula.

Here, with a cross, and sunlight, whereas, in the novel, sunlight only took Dracula's powers away, especially when he was filled up with a blood feeding.

The death by sunlight thing actually started with "Nosferatu", but, it's ingrained in vampire/Dracula lore now, and, this series helped to do that.

Anyway, enjoyable enough outing, if you can ignore the whole "butchers the novel", thing...'s a damned good disintegration scene...

The history-

Basic cable back in the day.

So...there's a bit of a gap here, as Hammer also needed Peter Cushing in their Frankenstein flicks, and, they pissed away a production slot on a "Brides of Dracula", sequel that didn't have Dracula in it.

So, anyway, then we come to...

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

The film-

So, a bunch of dumb tourists end up in Dracula's castle, and, his creepy servant kills one of them, and dribbles his blood on Dracula's ashes, bringing him back to life, and then, it kind of follows a standard slasher film formula of Drac picking them off one at a time.

Like Jason, but with a castle instead of a camp.

Here, Dracula's nemesis is Father Sandor, and..he actually kicks some butt.

Anyway, this is the one where Dracula dies by falling through ice, because, apparently, running water can kill a vampire.
...yeah, this series gets a bit goofy with the vampire weaknesses....

The history-

Ditto "Horror..".

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)

The film-

So, this one, a guy falls, cuts himself, and bleeds into the lips of a cryo-frozen Dracula, and revives him, and the usual mayhem ensues.

I'll always remember it as "the one with the atheist".
Apparently, all of Dracula's various weaknesses don't work if you don't have faith, not even staking.

At the end, Dracula falls on, and is impaled by a cross, and only when Paul, the atheist, finds his faith, does Dracula finally croak, and dissolve into dust.

Hey, y'know what, if Dracula shows up, I'll say I was wrong.
It's gotta really be Dracula though, not just a guy in a tux.

The history-

Look, they're all gonna be the same as "Horror...".

Taste The Blood Of Dracula (1969)

The film-

Re: The title, just say no, kids.

So, a dipshit evil cult of thrill-seeking sociopaths gets ahold of Dracula's cloak, ring, and dried up blood.

The ringleader puts on the Drac getup, re-hydrates the dried blood with some of his own, and drinks it, and starts gagging and retching, and his buddies beat him to death, and run off.
Blood-drinker's corpse morphs into Dracula, and vows vengeance for...himself?

Anyway, standard formula, Drac picks people off, there's a guy called Paul, but always a different Paul, and then he gets vaped by crosses, sunlight, and this time, recital of The Lord's Prayer.

Scars Of Dracula (1970)

The film-

Intended as a sort of reboot, before the term was coined, this one sort of harkens back to the novel, like with the scene of Dracula scaling the walls of his castle.

A resurrection scene was tacked on to make it hook up to "taste the blood...", and it's the silliest of all, a bat drips blood from his mouth onto his ashes.

But, ignore that bit, and it's not too bad.

There's another Paul, and here, Dracula stabs a chick to death, kind of out of character.
Dracula the slasher?

Here, Dracula bites it by getting hit by lightning while holding a metal spike.

Dracula AD 1972 (1972)

The film-

So, this one ignores "Scars..", and is effectively a re-reboot.

A prologue shows Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) impale Dracula on a broken wagon wheel, before dying himself.

Both are buried, then, flash-forward to 1972, and Dracula is revived with blood again, and an exactly identical Van Helsing descendant, also played by Cushing, is soon on his trail.

There's even a reincarnation of Mina, and it's pretty much a modernized re-remake of "Dracula".

Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

The film-

The immediate sequel to "Dracula AD 1972".

Okay, dig this plot.

Dracula forms a Satanic cult of well placed individuals to help bring about the end of the world with a genetically modified strain of bubonic plague.

Holy shit, Drac is playing for keeps this time!

Anyway, Cushing lures him into a hawthorn bush (reportedly, the source of Christ's crown of thorns) which immobilizes him until he can be staked.
Which he is.

Chronologically, it's the end of the Hammer Drac saga.

But, there was still....

The Legend Of The 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

The film-

Hammer-horror meets kung-fu.

Cushing is back as another Van Helsing descendant, this time, the story is set in 1904, and he serves as the guide to a bunch of Chinese students who know martial arts, and seek to rid a village of its vampire plague which turns out to be led by Dracula himself.

Lee wasn't in this one.

I seem to recall it as being goofy as hell....

And...that's Hammer.
Up next, Nosferatu.

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