A TASTE OF BLOOD (1967)
Article #1622 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-23-2005
Posting Date: 1-20-2006
Directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
Featuring Bill Rogers, Elizabeth Wilkinson, William Kerwin
An American businessman, the sole descendant of Count Dracula, receives a shipment of two bottles of brandy from Carfax Abbey. This brandy is mingled with the blood of Dracula, and it turns the businessman into a vampire with the intention of taking vengeance on the descendants of those who destroyed Dracula.
Apparently, Herschell Gordon Lewis considered this movie his epic and his move into the mainstream. He also considers it a mistake, and I think I know what he means. It looks better than many of Lewis’s other films, the acting is on a higher level (thought still quite bad at times), the gore is pretty mild (for Lewis) and the story itself is fairly decent; in particular, I like the fact that it attempts to be a sequel to the original novel rather than a particular movie version of “Dracula”. The cheapness comes through in the usual ways; the sound is once again quite awful and the musical soundtrack is ghastly and repetitive. However, its worst problem is one that I haven’t run into before with Lewis’s movie, and that is that it’s way too long; after all, none of the movies I’ve covered of his have run more than ninety minutes, and he actually had to add footage to THE GRUESOME TWOSOME to get it up to an acceptable length. This one runs 117 minutes, and its turgid pacing really kills the movie. On a couple of side notes, the movie features a very rare appearance of Lewis himself as a cockney seamen (though with his accent, you’ll have to take his word he’s a Cockney), and one piece of advice I’d give to him is that the final chase sequence is the wrong time in a movie to introduce a new comic relief character. On the plus side, this movie beats the similarly titled TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA to the concept of becoming a vampire by drinking Dracula’s blood by three years.