Cinema, Month of Madness

Day Two: Taste The Blood of Dracula (1970)

Tuesday, October 2

What a poster!

Now there’s an appetizing title. A Hammer production from 1970, Taste The Blood of Dracula is not nearly as fun or scary as it sounds.

The film deals with three English gentlemen, bored with their proper, upper-class lives in the mid nineteenth century, who take to visiting a brothel each Sunday evening under the guise of “charity work on the East End.” They somehow get mixed up with a young Lord who was disowned by his family for gasp! celebrating a Black Mass. Black Masses are big in Hammer Films. Said young Lord is himself mixed up with vampirism in a way that I didn’t quite catch, and he leads the three older man into resurrecting Count Dracula, who was killed in the Hammer film prior to this, and, voila, we have a movie.

The storyline is a little tired, and not that captivating, but the acting was all top-notch. Christopher Lee was spectac, as always, as the Count. He had a few scenes involving opaque white contact lenses and stage blood that sent honest shivers down my spine.

Also worth note was Linda Hayden who was more than adorable as the daughter of one of the naughty brothel-goers. Her transformation from virginal naiveté to a slave of vampire lust (isn’t that always the way?) is convincing and surprising. And she’s so adorable!

There’s also the great Roy Kinnear (Veruca Salt’s father in the original Willy Wonka) in a small role. As with all Hammer films, the production values and attention to period detail cannot be beat. What the film suffers from most is the fatigue of the Dracula sequels by 1970. You can only resurrect that guy, even when it’s Christopher Lee, so many times.

But man, I love that poster!

Two and a half screams.