Scars of Dracula

Dir: Roy Ward Baker
Starring: Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley, Patrick Troughton

Anchor Bay's pristine DVD transfer is rather more than the technical aspects of this film deserve, since it contains some appallingly bad day-for-night shooting, and the most pathetic bat effect of the past fifty years. These detract horribly from a movie that's actually closer to the original story than most Hammer versions. A young man ends up in Dracula's castle, from where his brother (Waterman) and the inevitable Gothic-cleavaged squeeze (Hanley) must rescue him, despite the local villagers' reluctance to get involved. There are some decent touches, such as the human servant (Troughton) rebelling against his master, after being touched by Hanley's beauty, and the luscious red interior of the castle adds to a general style and look which is fabulous. Lee delivers his usual fine performance, but if you can't help expecting Waterman to slam Dracula up against the wall and shout, "You're nicked, my son!", that's scarcely Hammer's fault. The bat, on the other hand, is entirely their responsibility, and is so woefully inadequate that it's impossible to take the film seriously. In a genre where suspension of disbelief is crucial, it comes very close to wrecking the entire film.


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