Scars of Dracula (1970)
Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Starring Christopher Lee Dennis Waterman Jenny Hanley Michael Ripper Patrick Troughton

In the late 1950s, Britain's Hammer Studios began producing some of the best horror films ever made when they crafted period pieces about many of the famous Universal Studios monsters. In 1958, Peter Cushing starred as the title character in the marvelous "Curse of Frankenstein," a wonderful color classic, while Christopher Lee played the lead in "Horror of Dracula," a well-made, subdued and atmospheric vampire film.

Both films launched their own franchises and, although not all that bloody when it first started, the "Dracula" series drifted into the 1970s and began introducing gore and sex into its mix of gothic castles and Christian vampire hunters, places in the prestigious Splatter 666 list.

The first 1970s film in the bunch, "Scars" featured a bloody (for the time) church massacre in its opening scene and enough sexual promiscuity (although no nudity) that it carries an R rating.

In a familiar storyline, Dracula sucks the blood of a weary traveler who stumbles upon his home and, after finding the portrait of his love-interest, decides to pursue her.

There are some embarrassing day-for-night scenes where people ride horses in what appears to be broad daylight, only to arrive seconds later at a phony set of Dracula's castle, where the sky is pitch black.

Vampire fans who like costume dramas should dig this, the last of the Christopher Lee period-piece "Dracula" films. It was followed by the campy, modern-day vampire schlock-fest, "Dracula A.D. 1972."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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