Scars of Dracula (1970)

Surprisingly heavy on the Christopher Lee for a Hammer Dracula movie, with him playing a much more active role in the narrative, having more dialogue, even having a few novelistic attributes restored (cold, creepy host, controlling animals, climbing castle walls). The most noticeable thing with this film is how it breaks continuity, though. The other Hammer Dracula films tend to follow on from the previous ones, chiefly by showing Dracula get out of whatever death he encountered at the end of a previous film. This film doesn’t have him in London where he should be, but instead right back in his castle in Transylvania. A minor thing, perhaps, but it sticks out in a series where the novelty was very much built off the continuity to a considerable degree.

The melodrama, romance, theatrics, it’s all very episodic and blurs together with the other Hammer films. It’s all so formulaic. Even the lovely surprise of Patrick Troughton as a hard-done-by manservant of Dracula (oddly named Klove, just like Jonathan Pryce’s much more formal version of the character some films back) doesn’t enliven up the film much. There’s also some poorly-judged gender politics here, ‘light-hearted’ rape accusations and overdone relationship dramas and whatnot. While arguably not even so much part of the series proper, the progression of Hammer Dracula films was definitely wearing out by this point. One and a half cutlasses, and a village priest.

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