|New Blood: Christopher Neame as a young vampire|
A prologue set in 1872 shows the deaths of both Dracula and Van Helsing after a final, furious battle, then the film jumps ahead 100 years in this first of Hammer's 20th century Dracula flicks. Lorrimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is the grandson of the great vsmpire hunter, living in modern London with his granddaughter, Jessica (Stephanie Beacham of Schizo). Jessica is friends with a man named Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame), who is apparently the reincarnation of one of Dracula's human slaves. Johnny enlists his friends in a black mass, the sole purpose of which is to revivify the ancient, blood-sucking count (Christopher Lee). Dracula snacks on several of Johnny's nubile friends and turns a decidedly willing Johnny into a vampire, but Drac wants revenge on the Van Helsing family and sets his sights on Jessica ... Dracula A.D. 1972 with its jazzy score is like a pop version of Dracula but it mostly works, primarily because of a fast pace and some excellent acting. Cushing and Lee give their usual classy and committed performances, and Neame is a real find as the dynamic and evil Alucard. Michael Coles makes an effective Inspector Murray and Caroline Munro [The Spy Who Loved Me] is fine as one of the count's first victims. The action sequences are well-staged by director Gibson. The vampire folklore in the film is confusing, as Dracula turns people into vampires with one bite without their dying first, and his other victims never rise from the grave. The group Stoneground perform the catchy enough "Alligator Man" in a party sequence. Neame has amassed nearly 100 credits and is still working today. Followed by The Satanic Rites of Dracula.
Verdict: Fun Dracula flick with excellent performances. ***.