TASTE THE BLOOD OF DRACULA (1970)
Article 2797 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-3-2009
Posting Date: 4-10-2009
Directed by Peter Sasdy
Featuring Christopher Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Gwen Watford
Three respectable gentleman, pursuing a secret second life of sensualist decadence, hook up with a libertine who promises them a sensational experience. This involves drinking the reconstituted dried blood of Count Dracula, but the three gentlemen back out at the last moment and kill the libertine after he ingests the blood. The libertine is transformed into Dracula, who vows vengeance on the three gentlemen.
I really like the first half of the movie, despite the fact that I don’t care for Ralph Bates’s performance as the libertine. It’s fascinating in the way it deals with the double nature of the gentlemen, who are respectable (even self-righteous) on the outside but debased on the inside. I also like the novel way it has of resurrecting Dracula. It’s only after the resurrection that the movie loses steam; it loses interest in the themes that drove the first half of the movie, it becomes over-familiar and sloppy, and the ending of the movie is particularly weak. It’s also one of those movies where you understand why Christopher Lee wasn’t particularly fond of the dialogue he was given; quite frankly, he could have conveyed everything without a single word, and the movie would have been better had it omitted his few lines. Overall, it’s not bad, but a stronger second half would have made a world of difference.