Dracula A.D. 1972 Review

As the title of the film suggests the next entry in the Hammer Dracula series sees the titular count resurrect in then-modern day England, though instead of following on from Scars it rewrites the continuity entirely, opening with a new showdown between Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing and Christopher Lee’s Dracula from 12 years before the original film was set. Is this reboot any good? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

A century after Dracula’s death, Jessica Van Helsing, granddaughter of occult expert Lorrimer Van Helsing and descendant of Dracula’s old nemesis gets involved in a cult that brings the Dark Lord back to life in present day England…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Dracula tries to figure out the bell-bottom trousers fad.

The good is obviously having not one but two rematches between Cushing’s Van Helsing and Lee’s Dracula, the first of which takes place in 1872 which sees Dracula impaled on a coach wheel by the dying Helsing, with the vampire’s his remains taken and buried secretly away by a loyal follower. 100 years later and a follower of the occult and doppelganger of the follower from 100 years ago named Alucard (Christopher Neame) resurrects the Dark Lord with the help of a bunch of fellow hippies, one of whom is Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham), who manages to escape but several other people are so lucky in the coming days, enough that Lorrimer Van Helsing (played by Cushing again… A strong family resemblance, I guess!) is soon tipped off as to what’s happening.

Cue people being turned into vampires and scenes of Dracula stalking and mesmerising Jessica to try and get one over on the relatives of his old nemesis. This eventually leads to showdown #2 which sees Helsing plant a trap full of wooden stakes in a garden and tricking Dracula to head to the right place, push him down it and then use a shovel to really squish him down onto to them, killing him once again. Both fights are really good fun and once again Cushing brings a sense of serious gravitas to the proceedings that lift things a bit higher than basic B movie… only a bit in this film’s case, mind you…

The Bad:

As far as characters called Alucard go, this guy has to be pretty low on the list in terms of looking cool…

Are you wondering what happened to Alucard? Well… he died in the shower because vampires are weak to running water in the Hammer films. Yep, that was it! He got his wish to become a vampire then died because he didn’t read up on all the many ways vampires can die. Idiot.

Speaking of idiot did we really need a long scene where Van Helsing writes “Alucard” out and draws little arrows from each letter in order to work out it’s Dracula written backwards? I mean, I think anyone watching probably knew already or didn’t need it spelling out so blatantly by a character who is supposed to be intelligent…

Also the opening scene post-opening-credits with all the hippies went on FOREVER. Just endless late 60s/early 70s music and people dancing and smoking and stuff. I get establishing the time jump but that was just ridiculous!

Overall Thoughts:

I assume the whole “relative of a Dracula-killing family takes up the task to defeat Dracula when he resurrects” thing from Castlevania comes from this film…

Dracula A.D. 1972 has some fun moments, especially the fights between the two Van Helsings and Dracula, and Peter Cushing and the more vocal-than-he-has-been-in-ages Christopher Lee both fully own their roles once again. Sadly a lot of middle is a bit meh, and the opening 70s shot is near-torturous. So somewhere in the middle for the score, though it is one of the better ones probably mostly due to its leads…

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