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TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA ($20) is certainly one of the more unique and unusual entries in the Hammer vampire series featuring Christopher Lee as the infamous Count. Although a direct sequel to DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA relegates the Dracula character to the background for a good part of the film, thus leaving his minions to carry out much of the evil legwork for the vampire prince of darkness. Instead of focusing on Dracula, TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA starts off by following the exploits of three proper Victorian gentlemen, who we learn are little more debauched hypocrites- seeking all sorts of immoral pleasures.

Upon meeting Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates) in a bordello, the three thrill seekers are invited to partake in a black mass, and then are given the opportunity drink Dracula’s reconstituted blood. Sickened at the very notion of drinking that sanguine cocktail, the three instead beat Lord Courtley to death, after he tastes the blood of Dracula. Although Dracula is resurrected through the death of his servant, he swears revenge on the three gentlemen and uses their children as a means of avenging himself. The cast of TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA also features Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden, Peter Sallis, Anthony Corlan, Isla Blair, John Carson, Martin Jarvis, Roy Kinnear and Hammer movie fixture Michael Ripper.

Warner Home Video has made TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This would appear to be a restored version of TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA that adds back several minutes of blood, violence, gore and titillation that was cut from the American theatrical release. The transfer itself is quite wonderful, appearing sharp and beautifully defined. Colors are usually vibrant and solidly rendered, giving one a good idea what an original Technicolor print might have looked like. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and contrast is quite pleasing. The film element used for the transfer is in excellent shape, displaying few signs of age and little apparent grain. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack would appear to have been cleaned up in the mastering process as most signs of background hiss and surface noise are absent from this presentation. Dialogue is generally crisp and totally understandable. There are some limitations in fidelity, but James Bernard’s score always sounds just fine. No other language tracks have been provided on the DVD, although English, French and Spanish subtitles have been included. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a theatrical trailer for TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA.

TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA may not be the biggest horror classic in the Hammer vault, but it is an intriguing entry nonetheless. Warner has done a fine job with the DVD, not only offering a terrific looking presentation, but also providing a complete version of the film. If you are a Hammer fan, then this is a DVD to acquire.



Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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