Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)
Director: Peter Sasdy
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford, Linda Hayden. Peter Sallis, Isla Blair
Storyline: A gentlemen’s club is talked into resurrecting Dracula in trade for the ultimate sin.
Review (Spoils): Three middle-aged men who live life to the fullest are talked into selling their soul and some money to resurrect the prince of darkness himself. During the ceremony, the men back out but the young man who talked them into continues and Dracula is raised from the undead. Dracula takes it upon himself to kill each one of the men off one and one and ruin their lives. During all this, one of men Hargood’s daughter is under a spell of Dracula and is taken under his wing causing torment to the village.
Christopher Lee is back as Dracula yet again and he is outstanding. This time he does have some dialogue but nothing huge. We have the cape, red eyes, bright red blood, some biting, some glowing crosses; some great devil worship alters and because it is a Hammer Film some flowing bosoms. The storyline is actually decent and different then the other tales and we have the lovely Linda Hayden and Isla Blair gracing the screen. The only issue with the film is ending as it ended quickly without a long-winded battle that Dracula deserves.
Rating: I personally enjoyed this film even though it did have some plot flaws. We have some enjoyable views of the women that are overtaken by the prince of darkness and I honestly think Christopher Lee was the greatest Dracula. Someday I would love to sit and watch them all in order to get the full effect of the Hammer Dracula films.
Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Director: Don Sharp
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: The story of the power of the madman monk Rasputin
Review (Spoils): Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee) has the mental power to bend people to his will. When he uses his power to heal a woman and starts to gain the reputation from the villagers as a good guy eh starts to show his true colours. Rasputin uses his mind to brain wash women to become his slaves and bid his evil doing. To the point of their breaking point and their weakness.
Much like other Hammer Films this one is made up with beautiful gothic scenery and clothing. We have Christopher Lee at one of his best make-up setup as the mad monk. His acting stands out in this film and Rasputin should be a legendary character of his much like Dracula. The film tells the story of the drunken mad monk and how he uses his mind to control people to do his bidding so that he can live happily in wealth. The two damsels in this Hammer film are legendary scream queens Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley, we do not have the bosoms out like most Hammer films but at the same time we do have great acting as Shelley places the poor soul that the monk torments.
Rating: I will be honest I did not find it the strongest Hammer Film as it is lacking frights but the story and the acting alone is worth watching. Some of the story is lacking on how he gets the powers and the ending just kind of just ended but that is not much different other Hammer Films. I think we needed more cleavage and less mullets.
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Paul Massie, Christopher Lee, Dawn Addams
Storyline: The Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline but with a twist.
Review (Spoils): Doctor Henry Jekyll (Paul Massie) is a boring man as he is stuck in his lab all day working with monkeys and mute children trying to study the workings of the mind. He is so occupied that he is ignoring his wife’s (Dawn Addams)needs and she is fooling around with his best friend Paul Allen (Christopher Lee). This leads to madness when the doctor starts to experiment on himself after being rejected by his wife. The difference is in this tale is he becomes a more cleaner looking gentleman but a madman inside.
This is a total different twist then the other versions of have seen so far with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde storyline. At beginning of the film I was wondering what the hell was going on with Paul Massie and his voice but once the film kicked into gear I was surprised and locked on this film. The acting is well done and to be honest Christopher Lee stole the show. He is the clean cut friend who is screwing Jekylls wife and using his money. Dawn Addams plays the part of the not so nice wife who is only out for herself in her own way but in love Paul.
This film gives us the basic Hammer Film treatment of bosom women, stockings, a longer then it needed to be dance show, some snake charming ladies oh and some red blood and a nice blow to head (poor Oliver Reed)
Rating: This film is great! It actually might be up there as one of favorite Hammer Films as the story keeps you glued to the screen and the ending is very well done and the conclusion is shocking (remind me of The Fly for some reason). If you have not seen this film and a fan of the Hammer Films you need to check this one out.
The Mummy (1959)
Director: Terence Fisher
Main Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux
Storyline: The tomb of Princess Ananka has been invaded and since a mummy is stalking the ones involved.
Review (Spoils): A bunch of archaeologists discover a hidden untouched tomb (not sure how they could of missed yet) of the late Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux). When they enter the tomb they get cursed by an Egyptian local and her lost high priest (Christopher Lee) who is now a mummy comes back to life to haunt and terrorize those people that entered the tomb. 3 years later the relics of the tomb get transferred to England and so does the mummy and he continues his terror upon the ones that despoiled the ancient tomb.
This film is messed up in storyline, we start with what is happening in Egypt, then scroll over to England and then have 20min of a flash back before the time in Egypt and then once again thrown into the present. Peter Cushing is playing the part of the son even though he is 100 years old. Christopher Lee plays the high priest and the mummy which is not bad. The make-up is actually well done and I like the way the monster moves but the plot and story is pretty weak.
Rating: I usually enjoy a good Hammer Horror film but this one seemed weak. Christopher Lee was good as the monster but the rest of cast did not cut it for me. Even Yvonne Furneaux seemed lacking for a Hammer film which normally the leading ladies are all over the script. It just felt to setup and forced to be entertaining.
Horror Hotel (1960)
Director: John Llewellyn Moxey
Main Stars: Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis, Christopher Lee, Betta St. John, Venetia Stevenson
Storyline: A young woman takes a winter vacation in Whitewood while studying on the topic of witchcraft, what she does not know is that she has stumbled upon a coven.
Review (Spoils): A professor recommends that the young and beautiful student Nan (Venetia Stevenson) should settled in Whitewood to take some time to study on her topic of witchcraft. She comes across an old inn called Raven’s Inn to have her stay and she meets the caretaker Mrs. Newlis (Patricia Jessel).
As she is there she starts to see connections of her studies that what is happening around her such as celebrations of Candalmas Eve and the 13th hour. Oh and the truth of the spirit of the late witch Elizabeth Selwyn.
This film is heavy on the goth and heavy on the fog. The feel of the film is not much on the talk but leans on the scenery as we have the innocent Venetia Stevenson roaming around the village and hotel and trying to get a grasp on the nightmare slash dreamy visit she is having. Not sure how she did not put it all together with the noise of chanting at night and the dead birds but anyways. Patricia Jessel character screams witch but anyways this all slips past everyone in the film.
We got dead birds, fog, crucifixes, old books, chanting, some daggers, the lovely Venetia Stevenson in stockings (while reading in bed alone because that’s what all ladies do), Christopher Lee as a side character and some nasty holy fire!
Rating: This film is not bad but at the same time it has its flaws as some of the funny are actually funny on how people react to things. Is it a classic? Not sure of that but at the same time it was a nice little witchcraft film. The scene of Venetia Stevenson being dragged and captured sure is classic in its own right for horror, plus Iron Maiden used some of the scenes for the Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter video.
Horror Express (1972)
Director: Eugenio Martin
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Angel del Pozo, Helga Line, Telly Savalas
Storyline: A British anthropologist discovers a frozen prehistoric body in China and tries to import back to Europe via train. As soon as the body is placed on the train the body count starts to rise.
Review (Spoils): Anthropologist Alexander Saxton (Christopher Lee) discovers a body of ancient being of mankind in a frozen chunk of ice in China. He brings and hides the body in a locked up box upon a train back to the Europe as he believes this could be the missing link. Once the body is placed in a cart people started to be found dead with their eyes white and bloody. This leads to a police investigation and everyone scrambling to find the now missing prehistoric body and the reason for the people’s deaths. Of course to add the mix on the train we have a countess (Silvia Tortosa ) and her dog, another doctor known as Doctor Wells (Peter Cushing), a mad priest (Alberto de Mendoza) and a intrusion of a captain (Telly Savalas).
As silly as this story sounds the movie actually was fun and entertaining. Sure we have the odd scene where someone does something completely dumb or the characters are drop on us as an audience for no reason. But the acting from Christopher Lee, Alberto de Mendoza and Silvia Tortosa was great and this film you could tell had some Spanish vibe to it. We have some bright red blood, white eyes, some red eyes and a hairy clawed arm that keeps roaming the train.
Rating: This was a surprise to me as I have heard of the title many times but never took the time to sit down and watch it. Thanks to my lovely wife and her comments on the film (which she found even more fun than myself) this was actually a fun film filled with cheeziness and red blood even though not a Hammer Film many believed that it was.
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Director: Freddie Francis
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing
Storyline: After the castle being blessed Dracula comes back from the dead to seek revenge by possessing the priest’s niece as his lover.
Review (Spoils): Dracula (Christopher Lee) is back and his return is well memorable as he the blood touches his lips and red shot eyes awaken. Once again this Hammer Film has brought classic gothic like scenery and as well the bosomed beauties the films are known for. The film isn’t just a film on Dracula but also a struggle in faith and loyalty.
We have battles with priests and the vampire himself, the beauty of Veronica Carlson, classic Dracula from Christopher Lee, brighter then the sun red blood, nasty bit marks, drinking games, blood red eyes and the sassy barmaid Barbara Ewing. Christopher Lee blows the screen away yet again playing the role as the prince of darkness and this might be one of the better ones of the Dracula series from Hammer.
Rating: This is one of the best of the Dracula films and even from Hammer itself. We have the delights of the two young actresses and we have a fun tale of an innocent woman and not so innocent man. We have some interesting plots and conversations such as the dinner where the young states he is an atheist to the priest. This film is quite enjoyable and the time does fly when watching this film. Defiantly a nice sequel to The Horror of Dracula, well worth the drinks.