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Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula's servants, Lord Courtley. In a nightly ceremony, they restore the count to life. However, the three men killed Courtley and, in revenge, the count ensures that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own children. Written by
Three wealthy gentlemen go out during one night of the month for
pleasure seeking (supposedly for charity the wives think) and are
becoming incredibly bored in what they do in that time, as they think
that they've done everything. That's until they meet Lord Courtley
(Ralph Bates) who claims he can give them power if they join him in
some ritual to recreate his dead master, but first they have to buy a
certain item off a shopkeeper to perform this task. So, with the help
of Dracula's servant Lord Courtley they meet in a rundown chapel to
revive Dracula (Christopher Lee) from his ashes, but they chicken out
of fulfilling their end of the bargain and to keep this quiet they kill
the servant. Thinking that it will just blow over, but there wrong as
now Dracula has been revived through his servants' corpse and he plans
to take vengeance on those three for killing his servant.
Decent latter-day hammer effort that has very good production valves
and some solid performances on show. The polished Victorian sets
standout with sharp detail and great use of shadowy and dim lighting
for its Gothic atmosphere. Though, the atmosphere was good it wasn't
that grand in stature and it's not terribly suspenseful as we've seen
it all before. The overall feel might come across a rather glum, but it
has its lively parts and an undertone of pervading sexuality and flesh
for some added boost. The compellingly clever plot is well thought out
to begin with (great intro) and there are some unpredictable moments,
but then it does seem to follow the usual pattern of the earlier Hammer
Dracula's and ends rather unconvincingly after it looked like there was
going to be an exciting finale. After a promising first half it does
kind of drag in parts after the resurrection of Dracula and comes up
with an uninspiring romance tale. The script is utter ham and quite
stilted. Christopher Lee as Dracula doesn't really get that much too
do, but whenever on screen his presence or quick flashes has some
hypnotic pull making you wish he had more screen time. Most of the time
his sneaking about in the background, counting down his victims in a
husky voice (1,2 & 3) and giving orders to others (their children) to
do his dirty work. Most of the performances were good (some deadpan)
from the likes of Geoffrey Keen, Peter Sallis and John Carson as the
three gentlemen and Ralph Bates as Lord Courtley is incredibly
over-the-top, but seemed well suited for it. The ladies of the film or
you should say Dracula's victims Isla Blair and the ravishing Linda
Hayden give fair performances and some added eye-candy. The direction
by Peter Sasdy is top-notch in delivery and he adds in some great
sequences. The fine camera-work had sprawling crane and ground shots.
While not forgetting the look into my eyes camera zooms too. Even the
make-up and gore effects (nice flowing rich blood) were pretty well
conceived and didn't come across as too wretched. Another highlight of
the film would have to be piercing, but also moody music score.
Anyway maybe the formula was starting to wear thin in this film? Well,
it does rehash certain elements and the usual clichés follow, but what
do you expect from these campy hammer films. Its their trademark and
has been a winning formula for them.
A mildly enjoyable hammer film, even if it's by the books.
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