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Monday, June 26, 2017

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Neame, Michael Coles
Directed by Alan Gibson
(actor & director credits courtesy

In modern day London, a young man succeeds in bringing about the reincarnation of Dracula, but a descendant of the vampire's greatest foe is ready to challenge the monster.

After their remarkable success at creating quality period productions in their horror films, the British Hammer studio tried something new, bringing the classic Dracula character into modern times.  Some purists might have been offended by this tactic, but this is a hard film to dislike with a number of winning elements, including the return of Peter Cushing who plays two Van Helsings in the film, again providing a dynamic counterpoint to Christopher Lee's evil count.  Absent from the Hammer Dracula series for 12 years, while a number of blander leading men filled in, Cushing is wonderful to see back, and though he's aged and not the man of action he was in Horror Of Dracula and Brides Of Dracula, he gives a dextrous contemplative performance in keeping with his age, and cinematographer Dick Bush does a masterful job of capturing Cushing's still piercing blue eyes and the intelligence behind them.  While Christopher Lee does not have a whole lot to do, he's fierce and elegant at the same time, and Neame is quite good as the young rabble-rouser who covets Dracula's immortality and power.  Don Houghton's screenplay should be credited with introducing the count to 1972 without changing the character or relying on culture shock humor, and Michael Vickers' rock-tinged score adds catchy accompaniment and excitement while still heightening Dracula's menace.

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