Roy Ward Baker
Running Time: 96 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
In this, Christopher Lees sixth outing as Bram Stokers pointy-toothed goth Dracula, its fair to say the needle on the gore-o-meter moves up a notch. Where previously a swift suck on a passing beautys neck would do, this time the talcum-faced Count goes for all-out bloodshed and dont we all just love it?
Having been woken from his undead slumber by an horrifically artificial vampire bat (Its a puppet!! as Brian Conley would no doubt cry), ol Dracster sets about putting the willies up the local village bumpkins with his usual bloodthirsty ways. Meanwhile, a few rungs up the social ladder in toff-land, womanising bounder Christopher Matthews upsets the Old Bill and goes on the run all the way to the castle. And, in case you were wondering, garlic bread aint on the menu.
Sounds like a case, if ever there was one, for a pre-singing pre-Minder pre-working class Dennis Waterman. So, accompanied by Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley, Waterman invites the Count – his bloodshot peepers like two dollops of ketchup mysteriously floating a-top a bowl of creamy chicken soup to an electrifying rooftop showdown.
Amid the platoon of British TV luminaries on display, one-time Dr Who Patrick Troughton steals the show as Draculas servant Klove who looks like he might be a werewolf, but turns out just to be in dire need of a good shave.
The downside is the massively dated appearance of the whole production, with those dodgy bats appearing far too regularly to spare the flick from the cringe-factor. There are also more than a couple of problems with the story itself, which upon not-particularly-close inspection doesnt make a great deal of sense. Unattended horse-drawn coaches are required to move the plot on once too often, and the backgrounds of too many characters (most notably the buxom wenches played by Anouska Hempel and Wendy Hamilton) are left unexplained. But director Roy Ward Baker (who also worked with Waterman on Minder) does his best to serve up a creepy treat, and Lees most definitely on-form as just the sort of tetchy vampire you wouldnt want stuck next to on a lengthy train journey.
It's Got: Delta Lindsays botty on full display.
It Needs: Someone to call pest control to sort out that bat problem.
DVD Extras Just a trailer. Scars of Dracula is one of five movies included on the Hammer Horror Selection box-set, which also features The Devil Rides Out, Lust for a Vampire, Blood from the Mummys Tomb and The Horror of Frankenstein. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10
Alternatives:Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, The Devil Rides Out
The definitive Count Dracula in an entertaining – if dated – bloodfest. Batty good fun.