Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

The central idea of this film is great. The original Dracula novel transplanted the count into what was then modern London. Why not do the same now? There’s no stricture that a story written in what is now seen as a period setting needs to always be set in a period setting, especially if part of the story relies on the shock of something being brought to the modern. So the Hammer Dracula series, which had been limping along for a while eally, made for a good candidate to be enlivened this way.

There’s certainly a novelty to seeing Dracula in the 1970s, and Christopher Lee’s scenes tend to work well (he seems somewhat uncomfortable, but that adds to the uncanny factor of it all), but that general shakiness and lack of story that pervaded the series for too long lingers. There’s a thrilling beginning set in the past, and some fun ideas with a descendant of Van Helsing, but it’s hard to get past the feeling that they didn’t do enough with the premise. A good idea, but still functionally a traditional Hammer Dracula film, without the effective episodic interpersonal drama of the more successful early ones. Two and a half racing carriages, and an abandoned church.

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