Taste the Blood of Dracula

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Dracula (Christopher Lee) has been impaled on a cross, doomed to be sent back to whatever dark realm he emerged from. A merchant happens to pass by the scene, so he picks up an amulet and some of Dracula’s remains. The remains end up in the hands of Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates), a man who is considered by some to possessed. He also happens to run the local prostitution circle, so he loves to partake in the pleasures of the flesh. He is approached by three local men, all of whom are fine, upstanding members of the community. But these men live secret lives, one in which they seek out all the unusual pleasures life offers. As exciting as some of those pleasures have been, the men are in need of more potent thrills. So Courtley lines up a ritual involving Dracula’s remains, a blood covenant of sorts, to spice up the men’s lives. At the last second, the men refuse the drink the blood and when he partakes, Courtley collapses. The men then beat him to death and flee the church, where the ritual took place. The event didn’t go as planned, but thanks to Courtley’s ingestion of the blood, Dracula was revived. Dracula is none too pleased either, since Courtley is dead and he seeks revenge on the men behind his death. Do the men have a prayer of escaping Dracula’s wrath, or will they succumb one by one?

I am always glad to see more of Hammer’s horror films released on DVD, even if the movies aren’t the studio’s crown jewels. This film, Taste the Blood of Dracula, isn’t quite as good as the earlier Dracula pictures from Hammer, but it is more than solid. The premise is good, with Dracula hunting down a band of immoral men who betrayed him, as it allows for some decent dialogue, but also ample bloodshed. Of course, Dracula has to be resurrected and this is done in a believable fashion, given that this is a horror movie. A movie that helps the film is the presence of Christopher Lee (The Wicker Man, The Devil Rides Out) who returns once again in the title role, but in somewhat of a shock, he isn’t always the main focus. The movie has him on the edges at all times, then pulls him into the focus at times, only to return to the sidelines again. I also noticed a stark change in tone from previous Hammer produced Dracula films, as the role of Dracula is as much to expose immoral acts as to indulge in them. This creates a darker vision of the world, since the men are just as evil, maybe even more evil, than Dracula himself. So this is not the typical Hammer motion picture, but it remains a solid and enjoyable genre effort. Warner’s disc is slim on extras, but the movie itself is more than recommended to those interested.

Video: How does it look?

Taste the Blood of Dracula is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This turns out to be a more than solid presentation, with no serious flaws to mention. You’ll see some light grain and debris on the print, but that is to be expected. I was impressed by how clear and crisp the visuals were here, as previous editions have been on the soft side. The enhanced detail allows for more depth and finer touches. The colors are reserved, but look as intended, somewhat muted tones that sometimes richen when needed. No troubles with contrast, as accurate black levels ensure even the darkest scenes retain full detail. So all in all, a nice looking visual presentation from Warner, who treated this genre picture with respect.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio here is about what you’d expect from a 1969 mono option, a little rough around the edges, but still solid. The years have caused some imperfections, such as hiss and a tad of distortion in some scenes, but it all still pans out well enough. The music has some slight muffled tones in a handful of cues, but remains acceptable, while sound effects are a little thin, though that’s expected in this case. The dialogue is mostly clear and clean, with only a few tinny instances, so no worries on that front. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, just in case you’ll need to enable those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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