Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1970)


12 Days of Halloween 2016 3

Things were never terribly strong in the Hammer Dracula series after the first film, but “Taste the Blood” is really where things fall apart. As it stands, the completed film makes little to no sense. It helps to understand that this film was not supposed to be a Dracula story, but the Count was added in when the American distributer insisted. That explains the bizarre events that have Dracula’s servant becoming Dracula after his death, and the fact that he is seeking revenge for the very thing that brought him back.

But nothing really explains Dracula’s behavior. This just isn’t a vampire movie.

The story in a nut-shell. Three Victorian “gentlemen” are the definition of hypocrisy. They play the part of respectable leaders of society. They insist that their children be as virtuous as their reputation. However, they really get together every month to participate the in the most debaucherous behavior their procurer can devise for them. Bored with sin as all hedonists become, they jump at the chance to participate in a black mass. It is more than they are prepared to face, however and they scamper when their guide is killed. Had they stuck around longer, they would have seen him transform into Dracula. Dracula sets out for revenge by possessing and forcing their children to kill them.

Everyone hates a hypocrite, even when most of us fit into the category at one point or another. And horror stories—the traditional morality play—are all about people getting what is coming to them. But you usually have more compelling innocents who are making choices that will save them in the long run. Here, Alice, (a 1970 version of Adele?) is merely a puppet. She is controlled by her father up until she is controlled by Dracula. (It is anyone’s guess why she isn’t turned.) And she is saved, to be controlled presumably, by her savior-boyfriend. I used to think this film was a flawed story with an attempted message. Now I think it is just a failed story with a mess.

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