|Dracula (Christopher Lee) surveys the scene|
TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (1970). Director: Peter Sasdy.
Three gentlemen who are respectable British citizens by day go to the fleshpots at night and crave ever-more excitement. This they certainly get when a dissolute Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates of Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde) tells them where they can find the remains of the one and only Dracula (Christopher Lee). For this ultimate thrill the three men pay the price -- literally and figuratively -- when they sort of reconstitute the vampire with fresh blood inside an old church and all Hell breaks loose ... Although Dracula's first appearance is perhaps not given the dramatic thrust it requires, Taste the Blood of Dracula is an attention-holder and features a lot of fine British actors giving it their all. Bates is especially good, along with Geoffrey Keene as Hargood, whose daughter, Alice (Linda Hayden) is in love with Paul (Anthony Corlan/Higgins), son of fellow "adventurer," Paxton (Peter Sallis); Higgins and Sallis also give noteworthy performances. Gwen Watford is fine as Hargood's wife, Martha. Roy Kinnear and Michael Ripper are also in the cast, and Lee plays with his customary authority. Sasdy also directed the memorable Hands of the Ripper for Hammer.
Verdict: Satisfying Hammer horror. ***.