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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Satanic Rites of Dracula



The Satanic Rites of Dracula, or Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride, is definitely a different entity when it comes to Hammer Horror and the great Christopher Lee’s rendition of the famed character. While this film is nowhere near the glory of the original ones in the series, there are some very entertaining moments that truly make this a must see. For me, the modern storyline is awesome and when looking back at that era, it is on the money as Lavey’s Church of Satan was rising. Plus, it was great to see Dracula going to great measures to strike a fatal blow to mankind instead of the clich├ęd Van Helsing family getting the last laugh. Vampires are powerful creatures and this portrayal added some flair to a character that had been growing a bit stagnant over the years (not to mention today)

The basic plotline is that a secret organization meeting at Pelham House worries the British Intelligence after evidence is unearthed of high-ranking officials taking part of satanic rituals. Occult expert Professor Larimer Van Helsing, (Peter Cushing) is called upon to interpret the evidence, and finds a friend of his, Professor Keeley, (Freddie Jones) is involved. When Van Helsing goes to question him of the incident, Keeley is killed and Van Helsing left for dead. Returning to the authorities and his niece Jessica, (Joanna Lumley) with the information from the meeting, they find that Count Dracula, (Christopher Lee) is behind this, and is about to unleash his final vengeance on humanity. Van Helsing hurries to stop him before it is too late.


For me, the scenes shot in the Pelham House remind me of the classic Hammer recording techniques, and regulate and promote terror and gloom effectively. Yes, the movie starts slowly without the typical resurrection scene. In fact, it is not until Peter Cushing appears that the true Hammer feeling takes hold. Cushing does a tremendous job and carries the film, but, it is the performance from Christopher Lee that is the real gem. Lee transforms one of the better scripts and delivers a great performance. I am sure that many will disagree with me, but I definitely feel that this film was a great way for Lee to end is end reign as Dracula.


Satanic Rites is different and viewers should embrace those differences. Yes, this film is not for diehard Gothic Hammer Horror fans because of it more like a BBC television series than a classic Dracula tale. For everyone else, it is a must see and is available in many inexpensive mediums.




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2 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure I have this sitting around in a box set. Thanks to you it is now on my weekend watch list.

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  2. It is actually in a couple of box sets that have come out over the last couple of years.

    There is a lot of debate on whether the movie sits in the public domain, and it can actually be found for free online.

    Have fun with the movie, it is definitely a different Hammer movie.

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