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Dracula AD 1972 - Warner - DVD Print E-mail
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Severed Cinema DVD review of Dracula A.D. 1972 on DVD from Warner

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SEVERED CINEMA REVIEW OF DRACULA A.D. 1972 FROM WARNER HOME VIDEO

Severed Cinema review of Dracula A.D. 1972
BUY DRACULA A.D. 1972

AKA: Dracula Chelsea '72, Dracula Today, Dracula '72, Dracula's Bloodstory, Dracula no Mundo da Minissaia, Dracula jagt Mini-Madchen, Vampyren jager hotpants, Dracula Kosto, Dracula '73, Dorakyura '72, Dracula 1972 DC, can pazari.

Directed by: Alan Gibson
Written by: Don Houghton
Produced by: Michael Carreras, Josephine Douglas
Cinematography by: Dick Bush
Editing by: James Needs
Music by: Michael Vickers
Special Effects by: Les Bowie
Cast: Peter Cushing. Christopher Lee, Christopher Neame, Stephanie Beacham, Marsha Hunt, Janet Key, Caroline Munro.
Year: 1972
Country: UK
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 32min

Studio: Hammer Films
Distributor: Warner Bros

So much has been said by so many people regarding the decline of the Hammer Empire back in the 1970s. They couldn't keep up with trends, they made a few mistakes when it came to combining genres, etcetera.

I grew up (like many) finding late night Hammers through the ‘80s, and Peter Cushing became my life long obsession when it came to actors. I must own everything! Movies, autographs, posters, my hoarding knows no ends. See, what I feel about Peter Cushing, and this falls into the Hammer camp as well, the 1970s were golden years for the actor especially, but also I love Hammer Horror flicks from their later output.

It's not fashionable to state that, but Straight on till Morning, Demons of the Mind, Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (see review here), Vampire Circus (see review here), in fact, name 80 per cent of the material from that decade, and you'll discover such darkness, such nastiness, and moreover, a lot of original ideas. Equal just bloody good entertainment as they lost a lot of the stiff upper lip snobbery and tried new ideas.

I adore Horror of Dracula and Brides of Dracula. They are quite simply game changers. They slapped the film world in the face with a challenging glove, along with The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy. The thing is, the Dracula franchise lulled, became the very same as the last one, until Dracula A.D. 1972 popped out. If one movie screams 1970s, yet at the same time, can be so out of date with the trends – well, it has to be that one.

Mario Bava had created a monster from the past resurrected in modern times, with too much applause and fanfare with the classy, Baron Blood. So, Hammer figured the best way to grab the new audience of movie goers was to pick up one of their fave fiends like when you lift the little golden figurine up on the Google Maps, and drop him kicking and wriggling into a new surrounding.

Dracula A.D. 1972 stars a grumpy Christopher Lee who, in real life by then, was questioning his role in stardom, and getting rather annoyed by the Dracula films because I think he just wanted one pure Bram Stoker conversion, followed by another, and another. In the end, of course, he did a runner and headed into a lengthy time of ups and downs, but always felt tainted by the money his horror name brought him, I guess. Peter Cushing, however, never complained, stating, whilst he was aware he was now trapped in the typecast curse of horror, kept busy, had work offered, he was more than happy to take on the roles. Good for him, he acknowledged his legions of fans, knowing this is what they wanted.

Let me make a bold and brave sentence here before I begin this review... ahem... Dracula A.D. 1972 is my favourite Hammer Dracula movie of them all! Okay, I reckon I hear teeth grinding worldwide, but I will simply review this fun incredibly eccentric film, then we will discuss.

We're straight into the action, by the way. 1872, England, Hyde Park, and we find Professor Van Helsing and Dracula battling on top of a runaway horse driven coach. Neither of them realise, this will be their final fight in that time, for after a brutal scrap, they kill one another. Van Helsing lays dead, Dracula is his traditional pile of dust. A young chap arrives and claims a sample of the dust and the ring worn by the Lord of the undead.

Cue wah-wah, bongos, funky music and stuff, we're in 1972. Young folk dressed loud, sharp, and with unforgettable jackets. Big hair, and names such as Caroline Munro, and singer Marsha Hunt, are grooving to the shallow sixties style band who sing “Baby” a lot. After the police turn up, our youth movement walk around the street. Here's the funny part, if you look carefully at the random passing crowds, nobody, I mean nobody, dresses like them. In that year, yeah, style had moved on from the over-the-top gear our gang are wearing. It's just a marvellous time capsule stuck in the wrong time. I love it!

One of the pesky kids has a plan to relieve the boredom for them all, but of course he has far more sinister motives. His name is Johnny Alucard, so go figure. He has the dust, plus Dracula's ring. He wants to perform a black mass in an old derelict church. Naturally, the choice of such a place has much more involved than just deciding it's a creepy looking place let's go there. But the others don't know that.

Interestingly, one of the girls, Jessica, happens to be the Granddaughter of Professor Van Helsing, descendant and remarkable lookalike of the infamous vampire hunter. “Our family has a tradition of research into the occult.” he tells her upon finding her reading a volume on black magic. As she leaves, he gets a sense of upcoming doom. He stares at a sketch of the bloodsucker, then at a painting of his ancestor, who looks a lot more like Victor Frankenstein.

 

“Dig the music, kids!” Johnny, dressed in robes and his face flickering in candle light, addresses his flock as a reel to reel plays. They all sit swaying to the rhythm, which sounds like a reject from Dr. John's Gris Gris album. They're stoned. As the music gets more dramatic, they are sucked into the zone, and Alucard over acts greater. “That's it! That's it!!!!!” until he reaches his peak and begins the ritual he intended. It's an amazing trip, striking and profound. “I call to you! Count Dracula! In your dark eternal caverns!” His acolytes stare in horror, coming down until Laura (Caroline Munro) ruins it all a bit, causing an unholy blast of wind to hit them all, the earth outside in the churchyard to pulsate, and other scary things. Nether the less, though, Jessica was named, Laura is chosen for the final chapter of his ritual. The results are not what any of them expect. Just about everyone darts off, leaving Laura in shock, and Johnny alone to face the rise of Dracula.

Jessica is afraid, her friends are vanishing, to be found drained of blood. The police are onto it, but so is her Grandfather. As Van Helsing goes deeper and deeper, he is drawn into a war against Dracula and his disciple, Johnny.

“I have returned to destroy the house of Van Helsing forever! The old through the young!” snarls the Count to Alucard at one point. This time round, Dracula is bent of revenge and is very intense. Van Helsing finds an unexpected ally in Police Inspector Murray, a chap who begins doubtful, but as the horrors build, he is reluctantly convinced.

Dracula A.D. 1972 has top notch acting all around. Of course, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee deliver thrills in shovelfuls, and the support cast have been chosen wisely. Stephanie Beacham, as Jessica, the victim throughout does have a streetwise edge to her, plus she just seems so different to the standard cookie cutter screaming girl in peril, whilst Caroline Munro, still in the fledging years of her career, shows a lot of power, as does Martha Hunt. You sort of give a damn about them, which fleshes out the films aura. Phillip Miller as Jessica's bloke, Bob, is for the most part, bland, but has a wicked twist to his role later on.

It's only Christopher Neame who lets the side down as Johnny Alucard. He isn't a bad actor, in fact, his overacting is legendary. Gnawing the scenery like Dracula chews into throats, it's almost like he decided to attempt an overthrow of the masters, e.g., Lee and Cushing. Instead, he ends up looking rather silly mainly.

However, it's all great fun. Alan Gibson, who also directed the twisted thriller, Goodbye Gemini, is a master of camera angles and close-ups. Some of the juicy and slick angles he captures, especially as Johnny's ritual reaches its heights, really conjures up nightmare trips. The lighting throughout the film is very rich and brooding, coming into wonderful effect in the Cavern nightclub as vampires surround Jessica. Even the rather manic street scenes with pounding music as Peter Cushing races around looking for his Granddaughter should be comical due to the almost camp way it is executed, but from Alan's choice of locations and what has happened prior, it's rather gripping.

Well, it would be if you took away a lot of the hokey funky quazi-blaxploitation music which intrudes on moments that do not need it. The confrontation between Johnny and Van Helsing is terrific stuff, punctuated by mounds of cardboard 'diggin' notes.

As a fan, it all works for some crazy reason, yet it's an impossibility that it should succeed. Naturally, to a modern 2000s viewer, it's dated, but since retro continues its comeback, there's so much to enjoy. Yes, there's some cringing attempts at humour, but so what? It stacks up the entertainment value, wherein its 'sequel' The Satanic Rites of Dracula, took itself too seriously and collapsed under nonsense.

The Warner Bros DVD is very sharp and crisp, really showing us the above mentioned rich colours. Wonderful sound too. Limited extras, just a trailer. Meh.

Dracula A.D. 1972 is a must for a gloriously funky evening, or a retro-tastic flash. Either way, it is far ahead of what you might assume.

 

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 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
 Region: PAL R2
 Audio: 1.0 Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 – Trailer

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 August 2019 )
 
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