Saturday, May 1, 2010

Taste The Blood Of Dracula - 3.5/5

I have to admit, out of all the Hammer Dracula titles, Taste the Blood of Dracula is the most unique. I mean isn't Dracula supposed to taste the blood of victims instead of the other way around? Just the title alone got me interested in this fifth entry into Hammer's Dracula series.

The film opens with an extremely strange yet humorous sequence with a salesman pitching to sell a snow globe in the back of the carriage. A mentally challenged boy threatens the seller to give him the snow globe, he refuses then gets thrown out of the carriage where he lies unconscious until nightfall. Sadly this is stomping grounds of 'ol Dracula so this is not the place to get caught after dark. He awakens to screams, runs and ends up witnessing the end of the previous film with Dracula dying being impaled on a cross.

Cut to story about three snobby rich British men who like to seek thrills beyond their mundane everyday lives. Sick of the bordello scene they meet up with a Satanists (Ralph Bates, one of Hammer's most under appreciated stars) who promises a night they will never forget. Horror films in the 70's started to bring more of the devil and Satanism into their plots and Hammer was no different. The Satanist convinces the trio to buy Dracula's cape, locket, and capsule of blood from the seller in the pre-title sequence. Of course the satanic mass resurrects Dracula and he then sets his sights to hunt down and kill the trio, seducing their daughters along the way.

I have to say that out of all eight sequels to the grand Horror of Dracula, this has to be the best sequel to feature the count and it is even a vampires bit above even Dracula: Prince of Darkness. The plot adds a some freshness to the typical Dracula story, especially how he is resurrected. The cast is top notch and filled with perhaps the strongest British actors at the time and the production values are as strong as ever for Hammer. The only complaint for casting is the young male lead. He was just too plain and I didn't believe he was strong enough to take on the mighty Christopher Lee. Other than that this is a top Hammer Dracula film.

Sadly this entry would mark the end of the stronger Dracula entries as all the sequels to follow would fall more into the B-movie territory with the faltering Hammer Studios.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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