A fine example
, 30 Jan 2005
Always been a big fan of Hammer Horror and this is one of the best of the Dracula series.A travelling salesman(Roy Kinnear) comes accross the Count(Christopher Lee as always) impaled on a giant gold crucifix(as the previous film ended) - he collects the cloak,ring and the dried blood and returns to England.
There we meet three late Victorian gentlemen - Hargood(Geoffrey Keen),Carson(Jonathen Secker) and Paxton(Peter Sallis) - by day they are respectable Church-goers but at night go to the East End for 'Charity' work - of course this means they go whoring in brothels but have found their experiences becoming jaded - they seek new excitments.
This arrivies in the form of Lord Courtley(Ralph Bates)a dissolute aristocrat who dabbles in black magic and realises he can get the 3 to buy the goods from Kinnear and summon up Dracula.
The 3 are dubious but Courtley persuades them and in a disused churchyard the summoning takes place - the 3 realise they are way out of their depths and when Courtlery dies they flee.
What they havn'r realised is that Dracula has returned and blames them for Courtley's death - he seeks them out to destroy them...
Direrected by Hammer regular Peter Sadsy the film mines a deep vein of Victorian hypocricy - Hargood rules his family with an iron fist preaching Christian values and one the films most effective threads is how Dracula uses the the children of the 3 to achieve his ends - corrupting them so the Fathers can see the direct consequence of their actions.
Lee is exellent as always(but not given enough screen time) and there is fine support from Linda Haydon(who was in the notorious Baby Love and so effective in Blood on Satan's Claw) as Hargood's daughter Alice who Dracula uses to trap and then destroy the 3 Fathers.
There is almost a Greek tragic element to it as the thing they hold most dear is the thing that kills them - it can also be read as the bourgious dabbling in forces beyond their control and unleashing a power that will destroy them.
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