“Do I make ya randy baby? Do I make ya horny? Rowr…”
Ever wonder what it would be like if somebody took the good old fashioned gothic Transylvanian Dracula, and dropped him into 1972 London? Me either, but Hammer Studios went ahead and spelled it out for us!
In 1872 London, Dracula (Christopher Lee of course) dies at the hands of Van Helsing (Peter Cushing of course) by way of wagon wheel. As Van Helsing himself passes from his wounds, Drac’s faitful follower, Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) rushes to the scene to steal away the Count’s signet ring. Jump ahead 100 years to 1972 London, and Johnny Alucard, the original Alucard’s great great grandson is still hanging around. Now days, Johnny’s running around with his own band of merry men, a troupe of lively hippies in the constant pursuit of parties and happiness. Little do they know that Johnny’s true intentions are to resurrect the dark lord Dracula in modern London. Chicks get bitten, Van Helsing’s descendant sticks his nose in, and we’re back to the standard formula.
In the past, I’ve always touted Hammer Studios and their mastery of atmosphere. This time however, Hammer Studios missed the mark a bit, and now we’re treated to something that’s a little hokey, a little goofy, and a little too out there to hold interest. Have you ever wondered what Dracula would be like in the hip happening 70′s? Ya me either.
Once we wade past the garish colors of Hammer’s updated settings, the core of Dracula AD 1972 is standard Hammer Horror. Plotwise we hold up to the standard set by Lee and Cushing, and seldom do we stray from this, despite it being the 70′s. Cushing as Van Helsing turns in his usual top notch job. Lee as well, when he’s on the screen is turning in a top notch performance, in the role he had protrayed so many times before. The glaring problem is our setting once again.
I realize that I keep returning to this point, but it’s a hard one to pass up. While I can appreciate Hammer’s attempt to move the classic story to a new setting to make it fresh, I can’t help but feel that it failed. Instead of being sucked into the gothic drama that Hammer had perfected before this attempt, I found my self chuckling openly at the zany hippies and their urge to party hearty. Despite all this, this flick is still worth watching, especially for the die hard Cushing/Lee fans. Just don’t plan on falling in love with it like you might have with other Hammer classics.
3 zany hippies out of 5