Title: Scars of Dracula (1970)
Directed by: Ray Ward Baker Cast: Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanly, Patrick Throughton, Christopher Mathews
Review: How many here enjoyed Horror of Dracula? Did you like its creepiness? Did you dig its heavy atmosphere? Did you shiver at Draculas evil blood shot stare? Well have I got news for you.
Those of you who have not seen this flick, or are just discovering Hammer films, go and search this one out. It's a very enjoyable and creepy Dracula tale, that will please fans of Dracula films and gore alike! I've seen some of the best hammer Dracula films and I have seen some of the worst, and all I can say is that this one ranks way up there as a highly enjoyable Count Dracula story, which I'm sad to say is sometimes bombarded by critics and even by Christopher Lee himself as being a weak entry into the series. Me? I thought it was a kick ass vampire movie, old school style of course, but mega fun non the less. The only reason for it being called a "weak"entry is because it has more violence then other Hammer films. This in my opinion does not make it weak, if anything it made it a cooler film to watch. It made it more of a horror film.
The story is about a young womanizer who goes by the name Paul (Christopher Mathews) . Hes escaping the local authorities for having his way with some important dudes daughter. Anyhows on his way to escaping he ends up in Draculas castle. After that his brother Simon (Dennis Waterman), decides to go and look for him with his girlfriend Sarah (Jenny Hanley). What they encounter is Count Dracula himself who of course first offers them his hospitality, then proceeds to try and suck their blood! Even though this film is sans Peter Cushing and that's a sad thing any day of the week, we do get some really cool and likable characters. First there's the Simon character played by Dennis Waterman. He is very headstrong and valiant. Facing off Klove in some scenes and Dracula himself towards the end. There's Sarah played by Jenny Hanly who is so beautiful and delicate yet she herself is valiant and daring when she has to be. Also there's this one character that I guess was supposed to replace Peter Cushing and it's the Priest played by Michael Gwyn. He even looks a bit like Peter Cushing but in my opinion cant even be compared, simply because Cushing has such presence
not so with The Priest. In Scars of Dracula we also see a character that was also presented in Dracula : Prince of Darkness which is Draculas day time protector. He is this Igor-like character called Klove. He presents a nice twist in the movie. Not gonna go into details, but he is part of what made the movie a little different.
Dracula is a bit more evil, sadistic and violent in this film than in others, for example he is seen using weapons such as daggers and swords to express his fury, instead of the more traditional ways were used to seeing him use. There's this really cool scene which I very much enjoyed in which Dracula uses a burning hot sword! Cool scene! The movie has a lot of classic horror images and it is filled with all the horror ambiance and imagery we've come to expect from a Hammer film but pushed a little further. For example the fog is heavy and thick in this one, Draculas castle is huge and haunting, and the sound of the wind blowing almost never stops in the scenes that take place up in Draculas castle. A nice little touch if you ask me. Also there's full moons, ans howling wolfs in the distance, and lets not forget the giant vampire bats! They are all over the place in this film aiding Dracula in his evil schemes. These bats are responsible for some of the most gruesome scenes in the film. And there's also a wink at Vlad the Impailer for in one scene Drac impales one of his adversaries.
Also another scene that made this film special was one scene in which Dracula crawls out of his lair through the window...and then proceeds to scale the wall, spider-man style. This comes directly out of the Bramstokers novel so I found it amusing. Equally amusing was the fact that this was the only time that this had been shown on film. The other film that did it was in the Jhon Badham version of Dracula were Frank Langella does the scaling up the walls.
Be on the look out also for a mega cool demise for Dracula, I think the final sequence in this film is spectacular, and in it I saw the inspiration and the muse for Jerry Dandridges fiery death sequence in Fright Night, speaking of which, there's a scene in this flick which actually appears in Fright Night. Its towards the end of the film. It involves a giant vampire bat trying to take away a crucifix from Sarahs neck. We see this scene playing on Charlies TV set at some point in Fright Night. It seems to me that there's a little bit of all these Hammer films in Fright Night.
Finally I think that anyone fond of Dracula films, and specially Hammer films will find this film highly enjoyable, because of Christopher Lees evil performance, high atmosphere, Gothic sets and the high blood quotient (for a Hammer film anyways) Don't go expecting a huge bloodbath, by todays standards its tame, but by Hammer films standards up to that time, its got lots of the red stuff. Expect a fun ride into Gothic atmospheric horror
hammer style! Rating: 41/2 out of 5