The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Another modern (well, 1970s) Hammer Dracula film, in fact Christopher Lee’s last Hammer Dracula film. More interesting and action-packed than that film, although obviously without the electricity of the idea of moving Dracula to the then-present day. Interesting update of the plague idea from the NOSFERATU films. Dracula’s plan here is more ambitious than usual, and it’s good to provide Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing with more of an actual plot to work against. It almost feels like a spy film at times, with Van Helsing working through the intrigue of it all. There’s a particularly strong scene where Van Helsing confronts an old colleague of his. Another is a shadowy confrontation between Van Helsing and a (sort of) disguised Dracula – one wishes Dracula was less than a cameo in most of these films, as Lee and Cushing both excel when actually facing off against each other.

Not one of the great Hammer Draculas, but a competent one, with an enjoyable-enough plot. Two and a half fire sprinklers, and a silver bullet.

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