The Scars of Dracula (1970)

DIRECTOR: Roy Ward Baker

CAST: Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley, Patrick Troughton, Michael Ripper, Michael Gwynn, Christopher Matthews.

The Scars of Dracula is without doubt one of the cheapest-looking and most banal of all Hammer's horror films, with the possible exception of Lust for a Vampire, made on the same sets in the same year. The special effects are embarrassingly poor and the sets flimsy and unimpressive. The story lacks a strong protagonist, something that was crucial to the success of the best films in the Dracula series (Dracula, Brides, Prince of Darkness).

The one feature that is usually singled out for praise - of sorts - is the reintroduction of a handful of elements from Bram Stoker's original novel. For example, for the first time Dracula is able to scale the walls of his castle like a bat, and he also appears as the "icily charming host" (Pirie) before turning feral. However, these occasional gothic touches cannot save the picture from its excruciating dullness. The cast is largely insipid, and for the first time Lee looks too old and worn-out to be the Count, an appearance not helped by the pasty makeup.

The finale is clumsily handed, with an all-too-obvious stuntman and wooden dummy standing in for Lee as he meets his doom.










David L Rattigan 2005





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