It's funny how I really wasn't into this movie at first but still ended up really liking it!

Thing that makes this movie a bit unusual and different is that it's being a part of the Hammer studios Dracula series but it really doesn't feel or look like a Hammer movie at all! Director Peter Sasdy did an handful of movies for the Hammer studios but only in its later years and he never impressed with any. He obviously wasn't that accustomed to its approach and style of film-making, or perhaps he simply really preferred to do his own thing. But anyway, if you're really into Hammer films, just prepare yourself for something totally different. You might end up disliking it at first, just as I did but don't give up on it! It's really a worthwhile and original enough little horror movie. I can also honestly say that this was the best movie I had seen, that got directed by Peter Sasdy.

The movie and story all first starts out as something very simplistic and formulaic but as the movie goes along, you actually start to realize how great its premise is. It has a premise that really adds to the movie its tension and for once isn't all about Dracula and the horror that he does. It might very well be true that this movie would have a better reputation if it didn't featured the character of Dracula in it, since this movie really doesn't feel like a typical Dracula movie at all and its story and atmosphere perhaps called for something totally different, outside of the Dracula universe.

And as often is the case with these late Hammer Dracula movies, Dracula himself is hardly in it at all. It was because Christopher Lee got fed up with the role and was also afraid he was going to get typecast because of it, for the rest of his life. He still needed a paycheck, so he kept on playing the character for a couple of years, under the condition that his role got limited down and in some cases he doesn't even have any lines. In this movie he does still speak however and once more shows why he was such a great and charismatic Dracula at the time.

It's the more slower sort of horror movie, which doesn't really work out that great for the movie at first but about halfway through it picks up some more pace and things start to get far more interesting and original. It's then that the movie suddenly starts to take form and makes its intension clear. It also provides the movie with some really solid horror moments and the movie has a very constant horror like atmosphere to it as well, that really adds to the tension and mystery of the overall movie.

Once you start to realize that this isn't being your average formulaic and simplistic Dracula production, the movie becomes surprisingly good, effective and original to watch!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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