Dracula A.D. 1972

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Stephanie Beacham
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

In this 1972 Hammer film, Christopher Lee played the part of the bloodsucking Count Dracula for the sixth time for the studio. It is evident in many ways, during the film, that the studio ran out of ideas to tell more Dracula stories, having sucked dry every possible angle before, and thus decided to give it a wicked twist. Instead of haunting his victims in Victorian times, Dracula is resurrected in modern day London this time. He barely notices, though, because he is essentially confined to the interior of an old church and has barely any screen time at all. The actual story of the film centers around a group of stoned hippies looking for new kicks. One of them comes up with the idea of a Black Mass so they go out, buy the dried blood of Dracula and try to resurrect him according to old, mysterious folklore. You should see their faces when the Prince of Darkness really shows up, utterly unimpressed with what they did for him.

Warner Home Video is dishing out a beautiful transfer of the film, as expected. The image is virtually free of defects and the anamorphic presentation reveals a high level of detail, down to the seams in the skimpy costumes. Flesh tones are natural and the somewhat psychedelic color palette of the movie are nicely reproduced. No edge-enhancement or compression artifacts distract from the viewing pleasure.

The audio on the disc the original mono track, which has a limited frequency response and serves up the typical hammer-harsh quality, which is noticeable especially during the music crescendi. Other than that the audio is clean and well presented and dialogues are always well understood.

The only extra found on the release is the movie's theatrical trailer.

"Dracula A.D. 1972" is one of the weaker Dracula films the Hammer Studios produced but still it is filled with great atmospheric moments, especially during the second half. The hippie-fied approach is clearly not everyone's bag, but is also not nearly as bad as one may expect, especially since Peter Cushing once again lends his stature to the Van Helsing character, and because director Alan Gibson managed to keep many of the interior shots in the familiar Hammer look. For fans of the Hammer films, there is no getting around this film, however, and at under $20 it definitely offers true value for the money.