Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 91:25
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Peter Sasdy
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Christopher Lee
Geoffrey Keen
Gwen Watford
Linda Hayden
Peter Sallis
Anthony Higgins
Isla Blair
John Carson
Martin Jarvis
Ralph Bates
Roy Kinnear
Michael Ripper
Russell Hunter
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music James Bernard


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
Arabic
Hebrew
Swedish
Greek
Hungarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Webber (Roy Kinnear) is thrown out of a carriage by a couple of lowlifes and knocked unconscious. On waking up he hears blood-curdling screams and stumbles headlong into the final sequence of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. Webber gets a hold of Dracula's cape, amulet, ring, and, most importantly for the title of this film, his blood.

    Next we see three upright citizens: Hargood (Geoffrey Keen), Paxton (Peter Sallis) and Secker (John Carson), who their families believe are out on charitable missions. What we see though is them entering a brothel which includes a dancing "snake woman" and which is run by an excessively campy Russell Hunter ("Lonely" from Callan). Their reveries are interrupted by Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates), a young reprobate. Later Hargood accosts Courtley and invites him to supper. The three men are jaded by the sating of their lusts and are seeking something more exciting.

    Courtley asks the three if they would sell their souls to the devil. Intrigued, they agree to be part of Courtley's plan which involves purchasing the Dracula relics (including powdered blood) from Webber and performing a profane ritual in a desanctified church. But things go horribly wrong and Dracula seeks revenge on the three men through the agency of their offspring. These include Alice Hargood (Linda Hayden) and Lucy Paxton (Isla Blair). Will Lucy's brother Paul (Anthony Corlan) be able to save his girlfriend Alice from the clutches of the Lord of the Undead?

    This feels like a black magic film that had Dracula tacked on to it as an afterthought. The fanged one is rarely on screen, and when he is, he does very little. While the production values are good (apart from the modern lock on Secker's door) and there are some nice directorial touches by Peter Sasdy, the script, with lashings of sadism and a little bit of nudity, is poor. The film is not incoherent but Dracula's motives for seeking revenge are glib and his resurrection and eventual demise make little sense. Christopher Lee looks like he is sleepwalking through the role, barely raising a sweat. Do the undead sweat? Obviously not. The supporting cast is better than usual, with the three transgressors played by talented actors. Michael Ripper, who appeared in more Hammer films than any other actor, has what amounts to a cameo as a policeman.

     Not one of Hammer's finest hours, this would still be followed by three more sequels.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I believe the original aspect ratio was 1.66:1, so some of the top and bottom of the frame must have been matted out.

    The transfer is very sharp and clear, with a good level of detail visible. Colour is bright and shadow detail is satisfactory. Contrast is good as well. The film probably looks better than on cinematic release, given the near absence of film artefacts.

    While the print quality is not quite as good as that of the previous film in this series, it is pretty good. The only film artefacts are occasional small white spots. I did not notice any film to video artefacts.

    Optional English subtitles are available, in clear and well-timed white text. The subtitles seem to match the dialogue very well, from the sample I made of them.

    There is no layer change as the film is presented on a single-layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The default audio track is English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono. Naturally there is no surround encoding.

    While dialogue is clear throughout, the audio leaves something to be desired. There is some hiss present and the limitations of the original recording are obvious in a lack of body and substance to the sound. There are no problems with audio sync.

    The music score is by James Bernard, and includes his familiar Dracula themes. This would not be the best score he wrote for the studio, but it serves its purpose without drawing too much attention to itself.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    Music from the score is played over the static menu.

Theatrical Trailer (2:19)

    This is the US release trailer which features scenes from the film complete with sepulchral voiceover. It is 16x9 enhanced and has quite a few film artefacts.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release seems to be identical to releases in other regions, so there is no reason not to purchase this locally, if you want a copy of the film.

Summary

    A good-looking entry in the Dracula series, this one is disappointing plot-wise.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is not so good.

    The sole extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Same as R1? - REPLY POSTED
Yep, it's uncut! -
Dracula as an afterthought... - REPLY POSTED
RE Dracula as an afterthought... and 7 Golden Vampires - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Thanks! -