Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Matter of Taste

No sooner has Dracula been impaled on a cross at the end of the the previous film than Roy Kinnear pops up to collect his fallen cloak and clasp, signet ring, and collect his dried blood in a test tube. This can't possible end well for the Antiques Roadshow. Taste the Blood of Dracula is the fourth of the Christopher Lee Hammer vampires. Released in 1970 and directed by Peter Sasdy.

Before long we're back in old London town where three jaded business men are looking for something a little different in the way of extreme experiences. Up pops a batty Ralph Bates to lure them to Kinnear's shop and then the scene is set for a bizarre regeneration in an old church, which is an odd place to choose for the Prince of Darkness to be reborn in. Having said that the dust covering Bates' body and then cracking open to reveal the reconstituted Count is well done. And the foaming blood in the goblets during the corrupted version of the communion service is also effective, although the presence of Peter Sallis as one of the three men did lead me to make various comments along the lines of "Nice brew, Gromit. Any biscuits? A bit of cheese perhaps?"

Once Dracula is on the loose it is fairly easy for him to hunt down the three business men and corrupt their children to carry out a bit of Patricide in a variety of gruesome ways. Michael Ripper arrives, this time as a police detective, and almost does his own version of the Hammer Ripper drinking game by heading straight for the decanter himself.

The problem is that once the three men are dispatched Dracula seems at a bit of a loss. The Hammer vampire films are obsessed with finding new ways to destroy and then resurrect the Count, but overall he doesn't seem to have a grand plan and is too easily distracted by a pretty neck. I always felt that the Stoker and Lugosi versions had some horrible intentions to spread their curse across the channel but Lee just looks menacing and does little more before he is dispatched once again.

Hammer moves into the 1970s so the sex quotient is increased with a bawdy bordello sequence but all in all the power of the Hammer Count seems to be waning as the films progress. Two and a half out of five foaming goblets for Taste the Blood. Now let's find out how Baron Frankenstein is getting on.

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