Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1972. Hammer Films. Screenplay by Don Houghton, based on characters created by Bram Stoker. Cinematography by Dick Bush. Produced by Josephine Douglas. Music by Michael Vickers. Production Design by Don Mingaye. Costume Design by Rosemary Burrows. Film Editing by James Needs.
Hammer horror silliness should always be this colourful and self-aware. One hundred years after Van Helsing dies while defeating the evil Count Dracula, a group of hip kids in swinging London decide to hold a Black Mass and, as it turns out, the man leading the fun is actually intentionally bringing that no-account Count back to life (in the form, of course, of Christopher Lee). Among the group of terrified youngsters fleeing from the scene is Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham), great-great-granddaughter to the vampire hunter whose grandfather (Peter Cushing in both roles) is a professor of the occult and who knows exactly what trouble she’s in. The desire to make the film appeal to a younger viewer is obvious in the fact that the film spends much more unnecessary time observing their groovy nightlife than on the actual horror at hand. Lee figures far too little in the overall enterprise, but the cinematography is gorgeous and Beacham is pitched at the perfect level of commitment and self-aware camp.