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This film was originally released in Britain as "The Satanic Rites of Dracula," but that is apparently a very bad adjective to use for a film title (the original U.S. release title was "Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride"). Whatever the title, this 1973 film is again set in "modern" London like the previous Hammer Dracula film, "Dracula A.D. 1972," and has the same writer (Don Houghton) and director (Alan Gibson). Dracula (Christopher Lee) is once again back from the dead, although without any explanation, now calling himself D. D. Denham, a billionaire recluse who owns lots of property and is engaging in satanic rites (hence the title), including human sacrifies (a form of fasting for vampires?). Scotland Yard turns to Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and his daughter Jessica (Joanna Lumley), who figures out the Count is trying to wipeout all of humanity with a mutant strain of the plague. From there things muddle along to a slightly new twist on an old way of dusting a vampire.
Once again the script has little to do with either established vampire lore or the unique take on Dracula from the earlier Hammer films. This is a shame since the cast also includes Freddie Jones as Professor Julian Keeley, who plays Dracula's mad scientist and provides one of the finest bit parts you will find in any Hammer film. Of course, Lee is again given very little to do as the title character in his final Dracula film for Hammer, while Cushing once again provides a strong presence as Van Helsing. "Rites of Dracula" again proves the simple rule: if you want to watch a Hammer Dracula movie catch one of the films made in the Sixties, not the stuff they put out in the Seventies.
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