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Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) - Blu-ray Review

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Dracula A.D. 1972 - Blu-ray Review

Hammer Films shakes off the cobwebs with Dracula A.D. 1972, their funkiest flick to date.  Never their best effort, this baptism of the walking dead is certainly entertaining in its effort to resurrect the original “Bat” man.  And our first glimpse of Christopher Lee resurrected is a beautiful shot indeed: from the cemetery ground, we peer up at the lean and menacing figure.  Striking.  Through the fog and the gloom, Lee as Dracula is a presence to be reckoned with.   

But this film, directed by Alan Gibson (who would go on to direct The Satanic Rites of Dracula), doesn’t care too much for what went on before the 1970s.  This is Dracula for the hip crowd.  And it shows, thanks to the addition of Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) and his stylish new waves.

"Swinging London looks absolutely spotless due to this NEW 2K scan with hours of color corrections made."


I mean, shit, you have American funk band Stoneground performing their super spicy “Alligator Man”, wild afros all over the place, a couple busy lovemaking under a table (as if this were a swinging Blake Edwards film), a bunch of hippies crashing what was an uppity party of stiffs, and that’s just the first 15-minutes of this horror flick.  Peace, man.  Oh, and the youngsters, obsessed with bringing Dracula back from the dead, hang out a hip coffee bar place, complete with purple lights and all night dancing. 

Wowser.  We’ve seen nothing like this scene in a Hammer film and it is all done with a piss-off attitude, too.  Does Hammer get anymore punk rock than this?  I don’t think so.  Hell, even before the party scene, we get to see Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing face off on a runaway horse drawn carriage.  Exciting stuff, for sure. {googleads}

This is a film that has model Caroline Munro splashing blood all over her bosom with glee as she sighs and cries in ecstasy.  And then the screaming begins.  Her head?  Oh, it is found in a pile of rubble the next morning BY SOME KIDS!  Yeow! 

But before we get to the orgasms, we must have the final meeting, as it were, between Dracula and Van Helsing.  That’s what actually opens this horror film.  Except it isn’t the final meeting or we wouldn’t have this movie.  Because thanks to some homegrown Black Mass and that passionate gang of young wankers with too much time on their hands, Dracula gets his ass risen from the grave.

Dracula A.D. 1972 certainly quickens the pulse.  It’s as if it alone is prepping us for the vampire’s kill.  And it looks absolutely yummy on blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.  Swinging London looks absolutely spotless due to this NEW 2K scan with hours of color corrections made. 

Dracula A.D. 1972 - Blu-ray Review

Co-starring Stephanie Beacham as Jessica Van Helsing and the stunning Caroline Munro as Laura bellows, Dracula A.D. 1972 might not be one of the best Hammer films to ever be made, but it HAS TO BE one of the funkiest.  I suppose this was done to connect with the youngsters at the time period.  Even the police suggest the original murders to be a gang of kids.  After all, America has a plague of cult kills they say. 

While this film was probably a miscalculation on the part of Hammer, at least it was able to get Cushing and Lee back together again, doing what they do best and chase each other round and round a room until the light shines in from the window.  We get a murder mystery, too, thanks to the inclusion of the New Scotland Yard as they race against time to stop the next victim from getting their blood drained.

The year is 1972. It is a vintage year - for vampires! 

3 beers

Dracula A.D. 1972 - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
96 mins
Director
: Alan Gibson
Writer:
Don Houghton
Cast:
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Stephanie Beacham
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The Count is back -- with an eye for London's young blood!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Okay, okay. But if we do get to summon up the big daddy with the horns and the tail, he gets to bring his own liquor, his own bird and his own pot."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 17, 1972
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 16, 2018
Synopsis: London’s become a small town for a handful of jaded psychedelic-era hipsters. But Johnny Alucard has a groovy new way for his pals to get their kicks. A certain ritual will be the living end, he insists. And if you still wonder where Johnny’s coming from, try spelling his last name backwards. {googleads}

Dracula A.D. 1972 - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- October 16, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A {googleads}

The brand new 1080p transfer is crisp and crackling with fine details.  It looks so much better than it previously did thanks to the insistence on getting a brand new HD scrub.  Originally shot on 35mm film, this release from Warner Archives supports a High-Definition encode and a 1.85:1 ratio.  With solid colors and an atmospheric charm, the cleaned-up image is detailed with nice burnt oranges and strong blacks hitting strong levels for something originally filmed in the early 70s.  The grain is natural and consistent.  Colors are strong and vibrant even.  The overall contrast is deep even if there are noticeable defects in the crush of shadows. The DTS Master Audio 2.0 is a decent monaural soundtrack for the series.  Dialogue is clean, clear, and balanced with the music.

Supplements:

Commentary:

• None

Special Features:

• Theatrical Trailer

Dracula A.D. 1972 - Blu-ray Review

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