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As one of the later entries in Hammer's Dracula series, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA ($30) isn't in the same league as their classic HORROR OF DRACULA (Warner- take the hint). Still, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA does feature the impeccable duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in the roles of Dracula and Van Helsing. Unlike HORROR OF DRACULA, which maintained the Victorian setting, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA places its characters in the 1970s. Dracula is still Dracula, but the Van Helsing in this film is a direct descendant of the man who defeated the Vampire Count in the first movie.

The plot of THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA has the Lord of the Undead hiding behind the identity of an industrialist who is involved in a global conspiracy involving devil worship and germ warfare (what a combination). Government investigators are on the case, however they find themselves requiring the expertise of the occult expert Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing. Like many horror offerings from this period, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA contains a good deal of violence and nudity. In addition to Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, the cast features Michael Coles, William Franklyn, Freddie Jones and Joanna Lumley.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has made THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA available on DVD in a wide screen presentation that recreates the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, without the benefit of the anamorphic enhancement. The transfer itself it quite nice looking; sharp with a solid level of detail. Flesh tones are fairly natural and the colors offer respectable saturation for a film from the early seventies. There was some evidence of film grain, but it was never distracting. The film element itself had a few mild markings that demonstrated its age. Digital compression artifacts remained in check throughout the presentation.

The Dolby Digital monaural was fairly clean sounding, but there were times where the musical score sounded somewhat harsh. The interactive menus were simple, but offered access to the standard scene selection feature. Supplements were provided on the second side of the DVD and included US and UK trailers, plus a World Of Hammer episode entitled Dracula & the Undead. FYI, time codes haven’t been encoded into this DVD.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 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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