Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dracula A.D. 1972, The Count Comes of Age

1972! The best of times. The United States had an ambitious space program.  Canada beat the U.S.S.R. in a summer hockey extravaganza.  Russ Meyer was still making terrific movies.  The worst of times.  Two ghastly individuals, Richard Nixon and George McGovern ran for the presidency in the U.S., giving our citizens a "Hobson's Choice." Pol Pot, on his way to winning a Nobel Peace Prize, was hailed by the international community as a peaceful statesman. Tensions in the middle-east threatened to bring about World War 3.  Also in 1972, Hammer Films believed (incorrectly) that horror fans were losing interest in Dracula and attempted to make him a modern day menace.  Hence, today's film, from 1972, "Dracula A.D. 1972."
 100 years to the day that Professor Van Helsing died while killing Dracula, a London hippie-type, Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) taunts his pals to join him in a black mass.  His motive is to resurrect Dracula. Fortunately for our wayward youths, a desanctified church is available and deserted.  Fortunately for us the viewer, Laura (Caroline Munro) and Jessica (Stephanie Beacham of "Inseminoid" and "And Now The Screaming Starts" fame) are two of Alucard's friends.  Oh yes, Jessica is the granddaughter of Professor Van Helsing (the grandson of the man who killed Dracula).  This Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is a doting grandfather and has continued in his dad's footsteps of studying vampires and the black arts.  Unfortunately for Laura and Jessica, Alucard knows what he is doing.  His intention is to present Van Helsing's great granddaughter to Dracula upon his resurrection, but an over eager Laura (see picture below) offers herself up for sacrifice first.
As blood spurts from an unholy grail, all over Laura, her friends flee in panic leaving the vulnerable and hysterical beauty all alone to face Dracula (Christopher Lee).  Upon his return, Dracula drains her of blood and expresses his disappointment that Alucard did not provide Van Helsing's descendant as the sacrifice. When Laura's drained body is found, Scotland Yard gets involved and contacts Van Helsing.  Realizing Jessica may be Dracula's next victim, Van Helsing assists the detectives in tracking down this fiend.  After a near fatal meeting with Alucard, he locates Dracula.  Unfortunately, after feasting on more of Jessica's friends, the Count abducts her and prepares her to be his next bride.  A final showdown ensues in which Van Helsing must destroy this vampire before his granddaughter is condemned to an existence of evil.
Will our open-minded and non-judgmental hippies keep these virtues when faced with an eternity of sucking the blood of the living?  Actually, these hippies are doing just that in a metaphorical sense in their "adult" years.  Christopher Lee was furious that his contract mandated he make this movie.  He apologized to his fans and expressed his embarrassment at being associated with "Dracula A.D. 1972."  In 1972, this film might have been a disappointment, but in 2014, a look back at 1972 through the eyes of Hammer Films is a lot of fun.


  1. I saw this on cable tv back in the 90's, pertty good flick.

  2. I saw this one quite a while back. Christopher Lee is welcome to turn me into a vampire any time he likes.