Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dracula's Plague Round!

The Satanic Rites of Dracula  (Hammer, 1973)

Before the Camera:

Peter Cushing  (Star Wars)
William Franklyn  (TV's What's On Next?)
Joanna Lumley  (TV's Absolutely Fabulous)
Michael Coles  (Dr. Who and the Daleks)
Freddie Jones  (The Elephant Man)
Richard Vernon  (Goldfinger)
Barbara Yu Ling  (Hardware)
Patrick Barr  (Octopussy)
Valerie Van Ost  (Carry On Doctor)
Christopher Lee  (The Man with the Golden Gun)
Count Dracula

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Alan Gibson

Produced by Don Houghton and Roy Skaggs

Written by Don Houghton

After seven Hammer Dracula movies – six with Christoper Lee as Dracula, and four with Peter Cushing as some member of the remarkably similar looking Van Helsing family - this eighth outing brings the two gentlemen together for the last time in the series. Lee opted out of the last flick in the series, but Cushing did show up for The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires. This series entry concludes the storyline begun in the previous film - Dracula AD 1972 - before the series ended with a trip back to 1904 in the final movie.

Satanic Rites starts out as a fairly convoluted 70’s style horror flick with Satanists, government agents, and lots of conspiracies. The agents are the good guys, trying to stop the Satanists from carrying out a dastardly plan they’ve been cooking up for a while. Eventually, it turns out the head baddie is none other than Count Dracula, and once the authorities realize vampires are involved, they of course bring in Lorrimar Van Helsing (Cushing). At this point, the movie has been moving along at an okay pace, but once Lee and Cushing square off in the final third, things get to humming. Van Helsing discovers Dracula has tired of his neverending existence and instead of taking a bath in sunlight, instead plans to wipe out the world with a plague. Can good triumph over ultimate evil one more time?

Dracula's been pursuing Van Helsing for several movies now, and quite frankly, he's bushed.
Yeah, that's a Satanic end table, all right...but...FIRE!!!

The two "modern day" Hammer Draculas (Ha! Modern being a funny term for movies made over 40 years ago now) don't get a lot of love from a lot of fans - but I like them - for one, after three with only Lee starring - these last two do bring Cushing back in to the mix, so there's a point for each right there. And now that they aren't so modern - there's a lot of camp factor in the time period, which is another point for both movies.
Fangs for the mammaries!

But we're here to get the skinny on The Satanic Rites of Dracula - so let's get down to it: I like this movie - you have cool British actors; a government/corporate conspiracy plot that is more fresh than another run around Dracula's castle; nudity; blood; and you have one of the last Cushing/Lee pairings on film (they appeared in only two more movies together after this one). I know William Franklyn best from a Laugh-In-like series called What's On Next? that KPLR in St. Louis ran a couple of times after exhausting their run of Benny Hill episodes in the early 80's - so it's wild to see him in completely serious mode here as a government agent - and Joanna Lumley is Lumlicious as always. Admittedly it takes a while for our star duo to appear - but I think the movie is entertaining from the get go - it just gets better when those two gentlemen show up.

I think this plan to stop Dracula is Absolutely Fabulous!

This one is believed to be in the public domain, so it is readily available on countless cheapie DVDs  - I don't have a clue which to point you towards - but even if the first two you buy are terrible transfers - your third purchase will still be less money out of your wallet than a frou-frou coffee from Starbucks - and you might even have a few other movies in a set to watch for free, in addition to the fine coasters the first two will make.

If you like your horror to be Hammered occasionally - then I highly recommend this one!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At 44:33, Joanna Lumley has grown tired of being pawed by female vampires.

Eye Candy ?

Er...didn't I just mention Joanna Lumley?

Welcome to the list, Ms. Lumley!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says " The Satanic Rites of Dracula knows there's
a lot at stake and does all rite for the viewer!"

Thank you BM, and until tomorrow's post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. I loved all these Drac films from Hammer. You know the guy in the pic with Lumley and Cushing reminds me of David Warner. Ab Fab is one of my favorite sitcoms and Joanna is marvelous as Edi.

    LOL love how you reference Bond w/ Lee. The took m Man with the Golden Gun was terrific, but it's been so long since I've seen it, it took me a minute to remember he was in there.

    1. That guy has always reminded me of David Warner too! He'd been acting for several years by the time this one was made - wonder if he was ever in consideration for it?

      I do tend to throw the Bond reference in if it's in the actor's filmography - it scratches an itch I didn't even know was there!

    2. That's cool with me. I love reading your Bond references. And was I drunk when I typed that last sentence? I just reread it and it made no sense those first few words LOL

    3. Thankfully I had just gotten plastered myself - and it made perfect sense to me. Guess we have our own drunken code now! ;)

  2. I agree with you 100 percent....:) Since it's the other feature included with my Dracula-Prince of Darkness DVD, I probably will give this one a look again before the Halloween season is up.

    1. Thanks, pal!

      I hope you do watch it - and let me know how it held up for you this time!

  3. When it comes to Dracula, I'm an embarrassment. I've seen the 50s Dracula, Coppola's Dracula and some TV adaptation (70s? 80s?) That's it :(

    1. Wow - not much of a Count! (Get it?) I think you need to vamp up the HMD with some more Dracula as soon as you can!