BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) - Blu-ray Review

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The Satanic Ritse of Dracula

A baptism of blood.  For about the first 20 minutes of The Satanic Rites of Dracula, we are witness to the sacrifice of a nubile young lady.  She topless and it is shown – which is apparently a first for mainstream cinema.  A chicken is killed.  Blood is spilled on the girl’s naked flesh and a lot of orgasmic glee follows.  She likes it!  She really likes it! 

Sink your teeth into that supernatural beginning, you bastards.  There won’t be much of anything else.  Because – as we soon see with some well-placed hitmen helping out – this Dracula (Christopher Lee) has only one big surprise in store as he plans TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!! 

"This is the final nail in the coffin for Hammer’s take on Dracula as performed by Lee"


Wait.  What?!?!  Cue the Bond music; this flick just jumped the undead shark.  

With only a couple of truly frightening scenes involving Dracula’s victims in dungeons, this tale is damn ridiculous.  There is a lot of pacing and wringing of hands as Dracula lives again and a lot of stiff old men talk, talk, talk about stopping him.  Women in the cellar?  Holy shit!  Once again directed by Alan Gibson (Dracula AD 1972), this modern day tale of vampirism has Dracula taking out revenge upon EVERYONE.

Master of the Undead indeed!

But enjoy that extended opening while you can.  The supernatural sacrifice is sprinkled with scenes depicting an ongoing investigation as Scotland Yard tries to nail down some suspicious nocturnal activity, but, with the bubonic plague being a part of this flick, it becomes apparent that this one has nowhere but DOWN to go, making the beginning the highest point in the film.  Bummer.

If you’ve followed Hammer’s history, you have heard of this film.  This is the film in which Dracula gets gun-toting hitmen after all.  They have wool jackets.  They have perms.  They wear shades.  Need I say more?  No wonder Lee balked at doing The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires which would be the ninth and final Hammer Dracula movie.  After this letdown, the addition of kung-fu could do very little to revive the series.

The Satanic Ritse of Dracula

All we need are sharks with friggin’ laser beams attached to their heads.  That’s right, as written by Doctor Who’s Don Houghton, Dracula trades in his fangs for an evil plan to spread the plague to all those foolish enough to upend his plan for domination.  Supernatural?  Forget about it.  This flick wants to be a Bond picture and Dracula, already tired of Lorrimar Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) always getting in the way, wants to be a supervillain. 

This is the final nail in the coffin for Hammer’s take on Dracula as performed by Lee.  And for good reason.  Forgetting what made Dracula AD 1972 work as well as it did, this one aims for the Moonraker and gives us You Own Live Twice with fake vampire teeth instead.  Much of the horror has been drained as Dracula, the shadow of death itself, attempts to bring about Armageddon. 

Oy vey!  This version of Dracula bites!

2 beers

The Satanic Rites of Dracula - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
87 mins
Director
: Alan Gibson
Writer:
Don Houghton
Cast:
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Coles
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
The King of the undead marries the Queen of the Zombies.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
Dynamite Entertainment
Official Site:
Release Date:
October, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 13, 2018
Synopsis: In London in the 1970s, Scotland Yard police investigators think they have uncovered a case of vampirism. They call in an expert vampire researcher named Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing (a descendant of the great vampire-hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing) to help them put a stop to these hideous crimes. It becomes apparent that the culprit is Count Dracula, disguised as a reclusive property developer, but secretly plotting to unleash a fatal virus upon the world.

The Satanic Ritse of Dracula

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros.
Available on Blu-ray
- November 13, 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: Region-free

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 1.78:1 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:

A trailer is attached to the release.

  • Theatrical Trailer

The Satanic Rites of Dracula - Blu-ray

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