Productions, the iconic United Kingdom film company, is best known for
its run of lavishly Gothic "Hammer Horror" pictures, which were
produced from the ‘50s into the ‘70s.
As the iconic monsters of
Universal Pictures began to fade away in the late ‘50s, Hammer Horror
breathed new life into classic franchises such as "Frankenstein,"
"Dracula," and "The Mummy." Hammer films were typically low budget but
featured extravagant sets and made use of talented British actors such
as Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
While watching the
Monsters HD channel, which is by far one of my favorite channels ever,
I stumbled across a little gem from Hammer Productions called "The
Satanic Rites of Dracula," a 1974 flick which starred Christopher Lee
as the Count himself, and Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing.
eighth film in Hammer's series of Dracula films, "The Satanic Rites of
Dracula" opens with secret service agent (Maurice O'Connell) who
escapes from an English country house, in which satanic rituals are
Before he dies, the agent reveals to his
superiors that four prominent members of society are a part of the cult
in question. These society types include government ministers,
scientists and generals among others.
Scotland Yard is
called in on the case and Inspector Murray (Michael Coles) is on the
case. Murray appeared in the preceding Dracula film, titled "Dracula AD
1972." Catchy title, isn't it? Anyway, Murray decides it may be a good
idea to consult the wise and venerable Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing,
played exquisitely by the legendary Peter Cushing.
back at the vampire cult compound, secret service secretary Jane
(Valerie Van Ost) has been kidnapped and turned into a bloodsucker
vamp. This leads agent Murray and Van Helsing's granddaughter Jessica
(the beautiful Joanna Lumley) go to the England country home to find
their missing friend.
This is where the movie really takes off
and comes to life in the way only a Hammer Horror can. Several female
vampires, led by Jane, trap Jessica in a crypt below the house. They're
just about to sink their teeth into Jessica when Murray shows up to put
a stake right through Jane's heart.
The following is a rather
absurd journey into a Dracula storyline that deviates quite a bit from
what you're used to. Turns out Dracula's cult are working on a virulent
strain of the Bubonic plague, which they plan to unleash on the world
so Vampires can rule the Earth. Yeah, pretty crazy right?
plans to take Van Helsing's granddaughter as his immortal bride, but
obviously our favorite vampire hunter has a few things to say about
that. Now Count Dracula and Dr. Van Helsing will face each other once
more, the fate of the free world lies in their hands.
maybe "The Satanic Rites of Dracula" isn't the best horror film ever
made but dammit, it's got style. Christopher Lee plays the title
character effortlessly, with tons of charm and a quiet menace behind
his bloodshot eyes. Peter Cushing is just one of those actors who looks
amazing on screen no matter the part he plays. Here, as Van Helsing, he
lights up the screen once more with a quality performance.
this film was a nice little surprise to a lover of creature features
and monster flicks. It's a bit derivative, and as I stated pretty
absurd in terms of story - but entertaining nonetheless. I'd recommend
this film only to the true cult lover of the macabre. Those seeking to
delve into the cobweb infested crypts of Hammer Horror would do best to
start with their original works - "Dracula," "The Mummy" and "The Curse