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Dracula A.D.1972

AKA: Dracula '72, Dracula Chases the Mini Girls, Dracula Chelsea '72, Dracula Today Dracula jagt Mini-Mädchen

GB, 1971, color, 96min
Director Alan Gibson
Screenplay Don Houghton
Photography Dick Bush
Music Michael Vikkers
Christopher Lee Dracula
Peter Cushing Abraham/Lorimar van Helsing
Stephanie Beacham Jessica van Helsing
Michael Coles Inspector Murray
Christopher Neane Johnny Alucard
The Stone Ground himself
Caroline Munro Laura

London, 1872. Dracula and van Helsing once more have a final combat, during which our blood sucker is again impaled. But the great vampire slayer himself is also deadly injured. At that moment a horse rider appears on the scene and quickly puts the Count's signet-ring and ashes in a bag (guess why?) The funny thing is that the whole scene seems to be filmed during daytime.

Flourish, "modern" Music, London, 100 years later, a half-dilapidated church. Here some unsuspecting hippies under the guidance of a certain Johnny Alucard (come on...!) are holding a dark ritual, only for a joke, as they think. But of course the sinister Alucard has different plans. It's him who possesses the signet-ring and the ashes of the Transsylvanian aristocrat and calls him back to his undead life. The hippies flee. The next day a bleed white victim is found. Inspector Murray of Scotland Yard who is working on the case consults the leading London Specialist concerning occultism, which is Professor Lorimar van Helsing, grandson (and absolute lookalike) of the late Dracula killer. With dismay he finds his granddaughter Jessica involved in the case. The latter is soon overwhelmed by Alucard (who by now is also a vampire) and brought to his master. Van Helsing finds her in the old church, totally in trance. He prepares Draculas tomb with wooden pales and on his arrival pours holy water in his face which makes the undead fall in his tomb and die uttering a blood-curdling scream. Jessica awakes from her trance and the van Helsings have once more continued their family's tradition.

After the predecessor "Scars of Dracula" from 1970 turned out to be a total failure, the Hammer people had the glorious idea to modernize the Dracula saga (instead of putting an end to it). A young and solvent audience was to be lured into the movie theatres and this is why the plot was transferred to the (then) present and tuned up with rock music, long hair, drugs and clothes like in an Austin Powers movie. Unfortunately it was completely forgotten to procure a good screenplay. Instead, Don Houghton, a completely untalented guy, was asked to take care of the plot. And promptly he forgot to mend enough scenes for the main character into his illogical story, and even if the bloodsucker appeared, he was only allowed to do it in or next to the already mentioned dilapidated church. This is what forced Peter Cushing to make the best of the film with his sole presence. The director Alan Gibson did not manage to make a good staging, even if he here did a better job than two years later when putting in scene "The Satanic Rites of Dracula". In "1972" it's somehow getting comical from time to time, which is primarily due to the above mentioned 70s décor, making it quite a cult movie among the Hammer fans.

Hammer's second latest Dracula movie was not the second worst, the last one really being a complete disaster. But this couldn't help anything." Dracula a.d. 1972 was quite a flop at the movie theatres and compared to the debut in 1958 it is a failure. A Gibson is not a Fisher and even two great actors cannot compensate a bad screenplay. An era was slowly coming to its end...

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