26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Un)dead groovy, man!
Seeing this film again on DVD brings back fond memories as this was one of the first horror films I ever saw.
Nowadays this film seems very tame indeed (it was made before The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Freddy & Jason etc) but it is still a lot of fun. For starters it has a terrific cast. Christopher Lee is of course Count Dracula and Peter...
Published on 13 Feb 2007 by Jeremy W. Newbould
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like, Taste the Blood of Dracula, kids!
For reasons known only to the author, Bram Stoker's Dracula never included the line "Sergeant, I'll bet you a pound to a pinch of s**t that there's a little piece of hash at that party, and if there is, I've got them.", but the early 70s saw that particular oversight put right. Dracula A.D. 1972 saw Hammer trying to pump new life into the old Count with a new creative...
Published on 15 Dec 2007 by Trevor Willsmer
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like, Taste the Blood of Dracula, kids!,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)For reasons known only to the author, Bram Stoker's Dracula never included the line "Sergeant, I'll bet you a pound to a pinch of s**t that there's a little piece of hash at that party, and if there is, I've got them.", but the early 70s saw that particular oversight put right. Dracula A.D. 1972 saw Hammer trying to pump new life into the old Count with a new creative team whose big idea was basically to rehash the plot of Taste the Blood of Dracula in the 1970s with Christopher Neame in the Ralph Bates role as Johnny Alucard, here conning a thrill-seeking group of with it kids (Michael Kitchen and Caroline Munro among them) into making a date with the Devil with a Black Mass at the deconsecrated church that not only holds Lawrence Van Helsing's body (Lawrence? Whatever happened to Abraham?) and Dracula's ashes. "Okay, okay. But if we do get to summon up the big daddy with the horns and the tail, he gets to bring his own liquor, his own bird and his own pot."
As with the Godzilla films, the main attraction is kept off the screen for most of the running time - top-billed Christopher Lee's role is probably smaller in this than any other in the series, four brief scenes probably totalling no more than ten minutes. Worse still, looking more like Peter Sellers than Transylvanian aristocracy, he brings nothing except continuity to the part: he does what is asked of him with professionalism, but that's about it. Instead the bulk of the film is carried by Neame's Malcolm McDowell wannabe, second-billed Peter Cushing as Van Helsing's grandson Lorimar, Stephanie Beacham and Michael Coles' open-minded cop ("There is a Satan." "Of course. Otherwise we wouldn't need a police force, would we?"). Yet despite the clumsily handled prologue and finale it's fairly entertaining even if it is completely derivative, perhaps even more entertaining now than when it was released because its hip and happening trappings are far funnier than the intentional comic relief - not least Johnny Alucard urging "Dig the music, kids!" during the black mass - and it's a lot better than Dracula 2000.
The DVD also includes the wonderfully over the top trailer - "Are you ready? He's ready. He's waiting to freak you out - right out of this world!" - but not the short making of documentary from when the picture was still called Dracula Today (other rejected titles included Dracula Chases the Mini Girls and Dracula Chelsea '72!).
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Un)dead groovy, man!,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)Seeing this film again on DVD brings back fond memories as this was one of the first horror films I ever saw.
Nowadays this film seems very tame indeed (it was made before The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Freddy & Jason etc) but it is still a lot of fun. For starters it has a terrific cast. Christopher Lee is of course Count Dracula and Peter Cushing plays Lorimar Van Helsing, a modern day descendant of Lawrence Van Helsing. The Hammer Glamour is mainly provided by Stephanie Beacham (as Lorimar Van Helsing's grand daughter, Jessica) and the amazing Caroline Munro.
The movie begins with an all-action prologue with Lawrence Van Helsing (also played by Cushing) battling Dracula onboard a speeding horse-drawn coach in Hyde Park. The coach eventually crashes and Dracula is impaled on the spokes of a broken wheel (ouch!!!). Van Helsing also dies but not until he has witnessed the evil Count (no Carry On-Style gag intended there) reduced to a pile of dust. However, someone else has also witnessed the Count's demise...
The opening credits roll and we are then transported 100 years forward to the present day (well 1972, anyway). Dracula is resurrected by one of his disciples Johnny Alucard (hmmm... I wonder what you get if you spell that surname backwards?) in a black mass ceremony involving lots of blood and Dracula then sets out to wreak revenge on the Van Helsings by planning to make Jessica his vampire bride.
There are some wonderful set pieces in this film - the opening sequence is very well done and the showdown between Lorimar Van Helsing and Johnny Alucard is memorable. I have to say though that Dracula is dispatched quite easily at the film's climax (something which is not uncommon in the Hammer Dracula films) but before this happens Cushing and Lee at least get to indulge in a battle of wits with Cushing using a variety of "weapons" against the Count.
I know some Hammer fans are not over-enthusiastic about this film but I have always found it very enjoyable and it is good to see this film released on DVD.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Feels too forced,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)The biggest problem with Dracula AD 1972 is the script and that silly forgetful music band at the beginning of the movie.
Christopher Lee as always is excellent as count Dracula however he is confined to the church the whole film and looks complexed throughout, as if to say why did he accept such a role?
AD 1972 is certaintly a good idea, and there are some good performances especially from Stephanie Beacham, not to mention of course the excellent Peter Cushing.
The on location scenes of Kings Road are a delight, as is Caroline Munroe.
But when the hip kids are telling it as it is with lines to the older charcters like 'its ok man', or it's cool. Well it just sounds too forced and fake as if the scriptwriter were born in the 1920's.
Overall AD 1972, is a rather forgetful film with some good scenes in it.
Certainly not a terrible film, but not a great one either.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dracula AD 1972 - Fangtastic attempt at injecting new blood into a tired series,
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This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)Some 14 years and five sequels on from `The Horror of Dracula', the original and best Hammer film starring Christopher Lee as the anaemic Count and Peter Cushing as his stake wielding nemesis Van Helsing, comes this rather interesting attempt at reviving the ailing series.
Following from the success of the original film, a whole series of sequels followed. The quality got steadily worse, until the absolute nadir was reached with camp and terrible `The Scars of Dracula', which preceded this film. None of the films repeated the pairing of Lee and Cushing, until this one.
Deciding to try and recapture some of the old magic, and trying to take the series in a new direction, the producers brought back the classic double act of Lee and Cushing, and took the brave decision to update the series from the eighteenth century Gothic settings that had made Hammer's name, and set it in contemporary London.
Largely, it works well. Dracula is an undead being, with unlimited lifespan, so why not? The presence of Van Helsing 100 years after his last appearance is easily and believably explained by his being the grandson of the original. Lee and Cushing are both, as usual, excellent value for money, and in their scenes together the old magic does show through a bit. Stephanie Beecham is pretty good as Van Helsing's granddaughter, who is unwittingly involved in the resurrection of you know who, and becomes the target of his vengeance on the Van Helsing line. And Michael Cole is excellent as the police officer investigating a series of strange killings in which all of the victim's blood has been drained from their bodies - sound familiar to anyone?
The bad points are that the depictions of `Swinging London' have dated terribly, and some of the actors playing the thrill seeking young people are a bit wooden. And Johnny Alucard's name isn't exactly a subtle clue...
In general, this is exactly what the producers had intended - 90 minutes of entertaining fun. It's always interesting seeing how Hammer are going to bring back the fanged one this time, and the scenes are nicely built up and well done here. The general plot is quite good, and certain scenes, especially Alucard's destruction, are highly entertaining. Not quite as good as the original, but not a bad attempt.
This DVD presents the film in the original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with a mono soundtrack. The print has not undergone any restoration, but nonetheless is pretty good with a minimum of artefacts. DVD extras are sparse, consisting of the original theatrical trailer.
Recommended to any fans of the genre - just don't be put off by the very dated feel of contemporary London.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent film, with an undeserved reputation,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)Many reviews of this film complain about telling the Dracula story in (what was then) the present, saying that this story belongs in some distant past setting. This is exactly the same criticism that was levelled against Stoker's book when it was first published. He too had put Dracula in modern day London, and the critics didn't like it then either.
Sticking with Stoker's novel, the epilogue is an excerpt from Harker's journal saying that they would not tell the world their story, but keep all the journals in the safe until Mina's child was old enough to read them. So every Dracula film where everyone has heard of Dracula, and immediately knows how to fight off a vampire is totally going against Stoker's story. Only this film stays true to the original book, nobody knows who Dracula is, or even what vampires are. Even Alucard's name (so obvious to us) would not have been at all obvious in a world where the name Dracula was not known.
So, that's two reasons that this could be considered the film that is most faithful to Stoker's original vision.
There are other things to like in there too, Cushing and Lee reunited, Stephanie Beacham, the beautiful Caroline Munro, the excellent Stoneground (two of their CDs are available here on Amazon) Christopher Neame,
and did I mention Caroline Munro? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
And then there's the plot, which is often referred to as weak and formulaic, but I would argue that in the context of the time, it was in fact a very brave and edgy plot. It goes like this...
There's a bunch of easy going, happy go lucky hippies, then one charismatic man becomes their leader, and corrupts them so entirely that they become the epitome of evil, filled with unspeakable bloodlust.
To make a film with that plot, so soon after the Manson family shocked the world, I think deserves much more praise than it gets.
All in all, a great little film, far closer to Stoker's original vision than many others, fun, entertaining, and deserving of a better reputation than it has.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars for me,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)I couldn't give this 4 stars. However I hadn't seen the film for decades and as a long standing fan of Hammmer films I purchased it, more as a way of completing my set of Hammer Dracula films.
But this was a surprise. Very much more entertaining than I remember and whilst its hardly an art film (OK not all!) it is actally far better filmed than I remembered from previous viewings. Its helped no end by the return of Peter Cushing. Taste the Blood of Dracula and Scars of Dracula in particular suffer badly in comparison because of his absence. Christopher Lee is also given a little more to do in this film, and the scene in the church where he first appears is perhaps the films high point.
It is a film of its time (or a little earlier as the Amazon reviewer points out) and that in itself is interesting. The fashions and cars on display will amaze some of the younger generation.
So overall this is worth getting if its cheap. Its not in the same class as the first of the Hammer Draculas and the first two sequels are both better, but it is fun and interesting to watch.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly starring Stephanie Beacham's knockers...,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)I flat out apologise in advance for this review, but the BEST thing about Dracula A.D. 1972 is, frankly, the awe inspiring sight of the lovley Miss Beachams heaving cleavage in a variety of skimpy/see through tops. Yes, it's sexist, I'm sorry (sort of) but Hammer made a habit of 'this sort of thing' and obviously my low brow expectations were well and truly met. Of course, the equally lovely Caroline Munroe is in the mix as well, but she's dispatched rather early but not before having copious amounts of blood spilt over her - you guessed it - heaving cleavage.
Despite being rather 'cleavage heavy' (no pun intended) A.D. 1972 perversely works rather well even though it is stupid to the point of absurdity. 'Groovy' kids, led by Johnny Alucard, raise Dracula in a bizarre ritual of music you can dig and 70's (60's surely?) trippy, drug induced hypnosis in which everbody gets a little hot under the collar and - shock! - two people kiss! Ah well, the good Count is back from the dead and it is up to Lorimar Van Helsing to assist the Bluebottles in solving a spree of mutilations across..er..Chelsea.
The fact that this movie is exactly the same as every other Dracula film produced by Hammer means familiarity breeds contempt. Christopher Lee's Dracula is a lazy Count, doing little and striking enigmatic poses in his gothic church as Alucard and his cronies attempt to capture Van Helsing's granddaughter (luckily, the ever heaving Miss Beacham again!) so Dracula can kill her. Not much of a plot, sure, but the actual saving grace of the film is the casting of Peter Cushing and - incredibly - the 70's backdrop.
The film is well shot, pacy, quite well acted and has a few moments of bright red blood spurting fun before the inevitable cross disolve/back to ashes climax (Dracula fans will know what I mean). So NOT the utter disaster I was expecting, but just more of the same.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated Hammer Dracula film.,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)Some Hammer purists dislike the modern setting of this late entry in the Dracula series. I personally have no problem with it, in fact no more problem than the so-called 'Carpathian' settings of previous films which more accurately resemble the Black Forest and/or some tourist orientated bier keller in Munich. Having said that, the script is appallingly stilted in places with 'right-on' dialogue clearly written by someone not grooving with the cool kids. If you can block this out - or, at least, go along with the ride and find it amusing - there is a very enjoyable little film trying to break out. Hammer films are not supposed to be taken seriously and there's much to enjoy here: another great performance from Cushing, good acting from most of the other cast members (especially Stephanie Beacham), the gorgeous Caroline Munro, some colourful visuals and very well-framed cinematography. I watched it the day after 'Scars of Dracula' and this film is better in every department.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't knock it!,
This review is from: Dracula Ad 1972 [VHS] (VHS Tape)Well, I've recently become a Chris Lee fan, and I caught this film on TV. Despite its reputation, I'd have to say that this is a really enjoyable lil film.
Lee is great, as is Cushing - two legendary and amazing actors. Though the plot is a lil weak and predictable, and the whole thing looks very dated, it just reminds you of how much films used to concentrate on being good fun - something I find amiss today in the pressurising film industry, where most films are out to just try and be the 'biggest ever'.
The music is terrible, but the sets are gorgeous, and Mr.Lee's Dracula is... well... the greatest! What a voice he has, and a stunning presence.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate feel-good horror flick,
This review is from: Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] (DVD)By the 1970s, Hammer Studios were losing momentum in the marketplace. Their cheaply made fantasy horror flicks began to pale in relevance against a rising tide of more visceral and intellectually challenging movies from America. By the time of The Exorcist in 1973, they were just about done, their particular oeuvre looking somewhat outdated, un-dynamic and retrogressive by comparison.
That said, when it comes to entertainment value channelled through a filter of undiluted eccentricity, an absolute unselfconscious lack of internal self-awareness and an uncanny knack of creating hysterically unintentional hilarity, Dracula AD 1972 and its ilk are going to trample all over any Exorcist or Texas Chainsaw Massacre any day of the week. In its own culturally clueless way, it is a pop art classic that in retrospect has improved in stature over the years, to the point where it almost transcends criticism by virtue of the fact that criticism can't really touch it. Reasoned critique has no place here because it would have no meaningful effect.
What makes it so great? Where do I start? Lee and Cushing - They act and behave on screen as though they are appearing in something by Shakespeare. The utter conviction and quality of these two performers bypasses the script, the dialogue, the direction, everything, and expresses nothing but consistent professionalism and commitment. Lesser performers might have let a degree of realisation and insight diminish the standard of their input down to the level of the material which clearly enshrines them. Not these two. They play it straight and true throughout. That's class that is. And it pays off.
Christopher Neame - an actor in his thirties pretending to be the teenage leader of a teenage gang (sorry "group. We're just a group of friends."). The hip young guns, it must be said, are also a bit long in the fang with teen years little more than a distant memory, one would imagine. Neame acts like he's in some sort of demented Gothic pantomime without a director, giving one of the most over-the-top and eye-poppingly histrionic performances ever seen in a movie of this type. Vincent Price would have been compelled to relinquish his crown of ham in an instant to this guy, knighting him Sir Hammy McHamster of Hambone in the parish of Hampshire on the spot. The sequence wherein Cushing offs him in the shower, and the process leading up to it, is a slice of pure cinematic genius and simply has to be experienced to be...well, experienced.
The Score - By ex-Manfred Mann member, Mike Vickers, is an absolute treat. Supplemented by tracks from stereotypical multi-racial hippie combo Stoneground and electronics pioneer David Vorhaus, it's a fascinating combination of cheesy jazzed-up early seventies TV serial music and Philip Martell influences. What's not to like?
Caroline Munro and Stephanie Beacham - I mean, if you want a heaving cleavage and Max-Factor fake blood combination, these chicks are up for it. There are no better. Trust one who knows. They don't need to show what they've got in order to show what they've got. Know what I mean.
The Dialogue - So many gold-plated howlers:
"Dig the music, kids!"
"Is this your place, Johnny?" "Come in for a bite."
"Don't look now, but Charley baby's gonna call the fuzz."
"Weird, man. Way out. I mean, spooks, hobgoblins, black magic. All that sort of stuff."
"But if we do get to summon up the big daddy with the horns and the tail, he gets to bring his own liquor, his own bird and his own pot."
And so many more. You couldn't make it up. But, astonishingly, someone did!
Okay, so if none of that makes you want to see it and fall on your knees in worship at the altar of its' very special merits, there are other plus points. The opening confrontation between Van Helsing and Dracula, ending with the latter impaled on a broken carriage-wheel and the former breathing his last, is an immediate blast from the off. The nostalgic early seventies London atmosphere the film manages to generate is eerily unique - it instills a sensation of having been there even if you hadn't been. The final confrontation, between the ageing modern day descendant of Van Helsing and the time-compromised Count, results in genuine feelings of both pathos and exhilaration. And, all in all, it's a pacey little number that slows only momentarily. There's always something to keep you engaged - even if it induces a shaking of the head or dropping of the jaw in sheer awestruck disbelief.
In the end, it's a feel-good movie that didn't intend to be from a time when the term "feel-good movie" didn't exist. Put on a SAW or Hostel DVD and think about how good you feel after it. Then put on Dracula AD 1972 and think about the same thing.
The ultimate unintentional feel-good horror movie. No lie.
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Dracula A.D. 1972 [DVD] by Alan Gibson (DVD - 2005)