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Classic Horror > Taste the Blood of Dracula (Peter Sasdy, 1970)

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message 1: by Phillip (new)

Phillip This one came from Netflix last night...I don't really expect this to produce a great deal of commentary, but who knows, maybe we can just turn this into a general Hammer Horror Vampire thread....

SPOILERS? fuckin'-a right there's spoilers!

Taste the Blood of Dracula (Peter Sasdy, 1970)

This moody yarn opens in a carriage, the first episode of many unrelated events that are woven into this scarlet tapestry. A travelling salesman is showing his wares to a couple of gents clad in serious dark attire. One of the men, hardly able to utter much more than a prolonged stutter, begins to grasp at the oddities....when the salesman tries to pull the longed-for item away, the men toss him from the carriage and he is left to wander a dark forest.

Without much ado a series of cries emerge among the trees. The subject follows the cries to their source: for no apparent reason, Count Dracula (occupied in this incarnation by none other than Christopher Lee) is seen writhing with an enormous crucifix thrust through his back, and protruding through his chest. His eyes are bloodshot (mine always get that way when this sort of thing happens) and he stifles a few more cries before falling to the ground.

His cape, some cheesy jewelery and a good bit of rasberry flavored goo is all that is left of this once impressive figure. The goo dries, and the credits roll...is this the end or the beginning of the film? We shall see....

On to the movie at hand. It seems that Hammer Horror has noticed the sexual revolution is here to stay, so they infuse this flick with a good bit of naughty naughty (at the onset anyway). A trio of well dressed and jaded gents are enjoying a night at a local brothel. Well, enjoying doesn't quite sum it up, apparently watching a topless dancer with a python wrapped around her neck and riding various women like horses (ala La Dolce Vita) isn't enough to please them. They long for more naughty bits and less skin perhaps.

Enter a lord who captures everyone's attention and takes one of the girls for his own pleasure. The men protest somewhat to the delightfully femme mister of the establishment and he tells them the girls pay him for pleasure. He tells them he is known to be possessed by the devil, but seems guilty of little more than a few fashion crimes (like wearing a velvet bowtie that looks like it was cut from the same cloth as Barney).

They seek the gentlemans' company in order to learn his secret. He tells them he can offer them salvation (of a sordid variety to be sure) if they are willing to purchase a certain something and accompany him to a ceremony.

The items in question are none other than Dracula's cape, the aforementioned dime-store jewelery and a vial of his (now powdery) blood...which sort of looks like ground up sweet tarts (beware kiddies of the demon candy!). The men make their purchase and they proceed to a dark catherdral in an abandoned graveyard (nudge me when this gets too familiar, will you?).

Our rough and ready pleasure-seekers initiate a ceremony, but when it comes to drinking the blood of dracula (hey, just add a drop of blood and it changes from kool-aid powder to a rasberry smoothie!), they resist. Apparently, these fellows are ready for some increased nastiness, as long as it doesn't involve putting their mouth on the wrong bub. The leader of the pack drinks it and writhes in pain while the trio of gents beat him senseless (and to death, apparently, although any garden-variety cupcake could survive the few half-hearted blows they deliver with their canes).

They leave the cathedral and their host, who changes from handsome lord to a pile of sand. From that soiled tomb emerges Christopher Lee (and boy, is he PISSED!).

Now Count Dracula is out for revenging the cowardice shown by these chicken livered sadists who wouldn't make it past the doorman at your modern-day S&M bar. The rest of the film tells the story of his revenge and of course includes a bit of blood sucking on the arteries of a young woman named Lucy (anyone else feel like they've been here before?) and a kind of psychological enslavement of a young woman who just happens to be the daughter of one of the perverts from the tough-guy trio. There's a young man seeking her hand that poppa doesn't approve of (my guess is that secretly daddy wants his little girl all to himself, which turns fatal in the end), and after a few devices tossed in to thicken the plot (or the rasberry flavored goo in this case), there is a great conflict in said cathedral where ol' Drac has a bit of an acid flashback and halluncinates that he's in, you guessed it, CHURCH (hell, that would scare the pop-tarts out of me!).

All ends well if you're a good boy and are clever enough to outwit the right authority figures, trim your sideburns properly and dress in the right color-coordinated hues. And, need I say it? - he gets the girl and flees the cathedral like a good sex-starved church-goer. They proceed directly to their honeymoon without passing go or collecting their $200...at least that's how I'm figuring it.

Now don't get me wrong, I may have portrayed this film in a somewhat ludicrous or ironic light, but that's just because my vampire narrative hasn't been approved by the censors and I basically envy those who can sell a yarn like this to a motion picture studio. Once I got past the sordid opening, replete with lots of censor-approved 70's era misogyny, I sort of had a good time watching this one. I guess I'm a sucker for blood...and of course, that only proves one thing: I'm no better than the fodder I'm fed.


message 2: by Phillip (last edited Aug 21, 2009 03:31PM) (new)

Phillip rob,

yeah, this is the one where christopher lee does the big 1, 2, 3 killing kountdown...

horror of dracula has its rightful place in the home collection. i agree that the hammer vamps decline in the 70's (although most of them are bad in a good way, depending on my mood).

i too remember vampire circus from my youth and would welcome another viewing...cross your fingers, someone's bound to release it sooner or later. it's been years since i had a glimpse of the hammer frankenstein flicks...peter cushing is in the title role in one (or more?) of those...i'm going to netflix some of this stuff...thanks for the words, rob.


message 3: by Phillip (new)

Phillip i think dracula, prince of darkness is the only one you mentioned that i haven't seen. i'll put it in the queue.


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Does anyone own this? I should have purchased it before it went OoP!

http://xploitedcinema.com/catalog/ult...


message 5: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Dec 11, 2009 07:23PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I just snagged a copy off Amazon UK for about $50! Rob, I wish my computer could burn region 2 discs and I'd copy you any film from the collection! For "back up" purposes, of course:)


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