The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||1973|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Alan Gibson|
Beyond Home Entertainment
Barbara Yu Ling
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, a lot.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Hammer's inimitable Count Dracula returns in this, the last in a long series of vampire films starring the distinguished pair of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
They're burning the midnight oil over at Scotland Yard, hard at work on what appears to be a case of vampirism. An undercover operative has been murdered while investigating a bizarre cult in London; a villainous group with high-profile judges, academics and politicians counted among its members. The cult's influence is very far-reaching and the staff at the 'Yard are well aware that if it's to be brought to a conclusion, the case must be conducted below board, with a team of incorruptible, independent help. Inspector Murray (Michael Coles) is called in, along with Dr. Lorrimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), an expert in vampirism who along with his gorgeous Granddaughter/Assistant Jessica (Joanna Lumley) is renowned in his field.
Investigations soon lead the team to the building of D.D. Denham, a mysterious company with an even more mysterious CEO. How is Denham linked to the cult, and why are they researching a new, more virulent strain of the bubonic plague?
It's impossible to go past the powerful on-screen pairing of Cushing and Lee, and these are the kind of films Hammer did best in their heyday. While it may not be the finest in the series, it certainly packs a punch and remains a staple in the vast Hammer catalogue.
This video transfer is on a par with the Anchor Bay VHS (NTSC) I imported more than a decade ago. This DVD's widescreen NTSC image is similarly letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Considering the film's vintage, the transfer is adequately sharp and clear with no dire issues to be concerned about. The most distracting artefacts are related to the source material; film grain, persistent vertical scratches, dirt and the like. I also noted many jumps and missing frames in places. Colours seem spot-on, particularly the deep reds.
No subtitles are provided on this single-layered disc.
The film's original mono soundtrack is the only audio option, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.
The English dialogue is always clear and easy to discern in the mix. Audio effects and foley work is suitably well balanced throughout. Audio sync is fine.
The soundtrack is in surprisingly good condition in relation to the video source; I noted only a few pops here and there, around what I would presume to be reel changes (reel change markings were absent, by the way). There's obviously no surround or subwoofer activity to report here.
The film's score is credited to John Cacauas and is in my opinion one of the better scoring efforts from this Hammer period.
|Surround Channel Use|
Simply the film's original theatrical trailer, looking very worse for wear and sporting a hip, funky 70s soundtrack.
The NTSC video transfer shows the limitations of the source, and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The audio transfer is fine.
The extras are limited.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|