Scars Of Dracula

Scars Of Dracula (1970)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley
Extras: Commentary Track, Trailers, TV Spots, Photo Gallery

’Scars Of Dracula’ is one of the most gruesome Dracula films in the atmospheric horror film series by the Hammer Studios. It is also unconventional in many senses, turning some of the clichés upside down, showing us Dracula stabbing people rather than biting their necks on occasion, or inverting plot elements. It is a misunderstood and underrated film as a renewed viewing reveals. Much of the Hammer charm is fully intact and the story offers just what vampire fans want. Plenty of on-screen time for Christopher Lee, blood, and neck biting, and of course, a great finale. ’Scars Of Dracula’ offers all that and much more.

Anchor Bay Entertainment is offering us a beautiful anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film in its 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer has been cleaned up and is free of defects or speckles. The level of detail is incredibly high, making it a joy to watch. Rich in color and detail, with deep blacks that paint beautifully ominous pictures, and well-defined shadows, this is one of the best-looking Hammer releases so far. However, the transfer seems to have a bit of a problem with the strong blood-red hues found in a number of scenes and some slight compression artifacts are evident there. Other than that, the presentation is meticulous.

The disc contains the original mono audio track of the movie, which is also surprisingly well maintained. Although its age is noticeable, the quality is much better than that of many other Hammer tracks. There is no sibilance and no distortion and the daring chord clusters of the score come across powerful and menacing, as desired. Dialogues are always understandable and clear.

Among trailers and photos, the disc contains a brand new commentary track featuring Christopher Lee and director Roy Ward Baker that I can only endear to fans. It is moderated by Marcus Hearn and full of interesting and exciting stories and memories. I am especially impressed with how well Christopher Lee remembers every little detail of this production as well as many others, and it is surprising that he seems to remember ever single member of the crew by name, as well as where their careers took them over the many years. Baker also has a lot of information to offer and as a whole this track stands out as a testament to the glorious Hammer films, giving us a glimpse at the myth.

As another cool extra, Anchor Bay has included a second disc with the first 10.000 copies of the DVD. On that second disc you will find the 1995 full-length documentary ’The Many Faces Of Christopher Lee,’ an exploration of Lee’s career that no real fan can afford to miss. Hosted by Lee himself, this extensive documentary covers his entire career, the many parts and Lee is quite candid about the productions, offering valuable insight into the immense body of work he has done throughout his lengthy career and the people he has worked with.

’Scars Of Dracula’ is often dissed for its inconsistency with the series, but seen as an entity of its own, it is an atmospheric film that has some surprisingly violent moments. See for yourself, as this DVD offers you a splendid presentation and cool extras, especially if you order soon so that you receive the free bonus disc as well.