Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Dracula A.D. 1972"(1972)d/Alan Gibson

The weekend draws nearer,droogies,and I don't know about you guys,but who's waiting?I noticed this morning that my left earlobe,which has been perma-pierced since Reagan rocked the reds,is hanging lower than my right one.WTF.I'm lacing up my UK12 steelcapped party boots a night early,and getting good and shitty tonight.If you're stuck behaving yourselves for one more night,no big deal,you can party vicariously through your humble N over here,then catch up tomorrow.With decadence fresh in mind,we'll draw focus on Hammer's somewhat limp attempt to sanguinarily swing seventies-style with Messrs Lee and Cushing before we turn our attention to several monster-based movies in a row.Little change of pace never hurt anybody.
Riding on the cape-edges of the success of Count Yorga,Vampire a year earlier,Hammer decided to inject some new modern blood into its own Dracula series and set tonight's entry in present day swinging London.Even with Lee and Cushing firmly in place as previous boxoffice success would dictate,the film remains a kind of sour note in the series,mostly panned by critics and shunned by theater patrons alike.Though it's not top Dracula fare by Hammer standards,the weakest in my opinion would not materialize until the next chapter in the Dracula saga,The Satanic Rites of Dracula(1974), which was also based in present day England,and signalled the end of Christopher Lee's long running portrayal of the vampire for Hammer Studios.Bogged down with shortcomings,groovy datedness,and cliched seventies occultists,tonight's entry works on an exploitative level,methinks,and there plenty enough going on in the film to keep the viewer modestly interested up to the climax.Hammer serves up delectable scream queens Caroline Munro and Stephanie Beacham this time around,and thus,impressive cleavage is rampant here in the seventh Dracula film for the production company,and sixth to feature Christopher Lee in the title role.So,to summarize,Christopher Lee,Peter Cushing,satanic cults,human sacrifices,grooviness to the gills,and the studio's trademark bountiful bobblers.In Germany,they called this one "Dracula Chases the Mini-Girls".Come on,now.Why did so many people thumbs down this movie again,exactly?
Under Van Helsing's wheels,The Count couldn't let him be.
The year is 1872,and eternal enemies Professor Van Helsing(Cushing) and Count Dracula(Lee)battle atop a runaway carriage,which confuses the living fuck outta me,since the first time the two meet allegedly takes place in 1880,and what follows isn't how the previous movie(Scars of Dracula) ends,but what the hell do I know?The carriage crashes,and the Prince of Darkness is impaled on a wagon wheel,while his mortal nemesis dies from the impact as well.One of Dracula's legion collects up his remains and days later,buries them near Van Helsing's grave.Fast forward one hundred years to Van Helsing's descendant,Lorrimer's(also Cushing) granddaughter,Jessica(Beacham),being goaded into participating in a weird occult ritual at the abandoned church involving blood and bobblers by Johnny Alucard(Christopher Neame).What's the worst that could happen,right?After ressurecting Dracula(oops!),the group flees for their lives,leaving the Count to drain Laura(Munro),the centerpiece of their black magic rite,of all that nuisance blood in her sexy body.Inspector Murray(Michael Coles) rightfully suspects some cultish elements to the young girl's murder,and calls in his old friend,Lorrimer who's an expert on the occult sciences for consultation.He surmises that Count Dracula is behind his granddaughter's friend's death,as Alucard is Dracula backwards,afterall.And Lorrimer is an anagram for "your parents musta hated you,champ".
Yeah,that's 1972 alright.
Johnny Alucard escorts another one of Jessica's girlfriends to St. Bartolph's,where Dracula sips n' sups upon her,and rewards Johnny boy with eternal life as a nosferatu.He tries out his nifty new eye teeth on an unlucky fucker,before luring Bob,Jessica's boyfriend,to a bohemian joint they frequent.There,he turns him into a fellow member of the undead,after which Bob lures her to the cafe' where she's captured by the dual denizens of the dark and brought to Dracula.Van Helsing discovers his granddaughter is missing,gets the coordinates of Alucard's digs and dispatches him,then finds a mesmerized Jessica and a very dead Bob at the church,where the Count plans on exacting his hundred year old revenge on Van Helsing by turning his top heavy young relation into a vampire herself.Lorrimer sets a trap for the blood drinker's return at nightfall,where during a struggle,the infernal creature with the alleged strength of twenty men bumbles his way into a pit filled with spikes which effectively shuffles off his immortal coil.Jugular veins are once again safe...until next year.
You've got red on you,Caroline.
Tonight's entry was inspired by the Highgate Vampire of the early 1970s,where alleged supernatural beings were reported in and around Highgate Cemetery,bloodless fox bodies,a charred headless woman's body being discovered,and other mysterious details.Gibson went on to direct mostly television,importantly Hammer House of Horror and Tales of the Unexpected,before dying in 1987.The tandem of Cushing and Lee next collective effort would be the excellent Horror Express.Caroline Munro had only just begin to gain popularity,and went on directly to Dr. Phibes Rises Again,Golden Voyage of Sinbad,Kronos,and At The Earth's Core.Beacham acted in genre fare such as Schizo and Horror Planet(Inseminoid) as well as a myriad of small screen work.A.D. 1972 merits a rather average scale rating of two wops,but fans of Lee and/or Cushing will want to check it out anyway.
It's a bobbler,ferchrissakes,not a clove of garlic,Dracula.Go ahead and hook up a firm Swedish grip.


Watching Hammer said...

Ha ha! Luv it! Can you dig it?

beedubelhue said...

Heavy,man.'Cos like,the occult,vampires,groovy girls,they're my bag,maaaaaan!I can groove off of them in my own space,and it's all outta sight!


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