• Martyn Wakefield

TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (REVIEW)

Dir. Peter Sasdy

Reviewer. Dan Cook

Boobs, blood and bad haircuts are all on offer in the gruesomely titled TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA, the fifth film in Hammer Studio’s DRACULA series and, in my opinion, one of the more interesting sequels to follow Terence Fisher’s original 1958 gothic masterpiece. Picking up immediately where DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE [1968] left off, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA follows the sinister exploits of a trio of debaucherous men (portrayed by Geoffrey Keen, John Carson and Peter Sallis) whose quest for seeking greater, more perverted thrills inadvertently leads to the resurrection of the undead Count (Christopher Lee).


The actors playing the central threesome are really good here, in particular Geoffrey Keen who injects his performance as the abusive and alcoholic Hargood with a healthy dose of hateful bite, while Christopher Lee (despite a diminished part in the proceedings) remains an imposing and threatening presence as the titular blood-sucker. There’s also a very memorable appearance by Ralph Bates who shines in his brief but highly charismatic role as a crazed disciple of Dracula whose loyalty ends up bringing about the return of the Prince of Darkness. Bates would go on to become something of a familiar face in Hammer films and here, he delivers a strong and slightly manic debut.


Production wise, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA doesn’t really stand out from other entries in the series but it nonetheless looks great, with the grand interiors of the characters’ beautiful houses contrasting nicely with the cobwebby crypts and desecrated chapels that play host to many of the films more extreme set pieces.


By no means a horror classic but an entertaining and refreshingly darker film than some of the lesser sequels that both preceded and followed it, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA remains one of the better movies in Hammer’s extensive repertoire and for me, ranks alongside DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS [1966] as one of the Count’s more memorable outings.


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