Sunday, October 15, 2017

SCARS OF DRACULA (Roy Ward Baker, 1970)

A young woman suffers impingement of her exterior jugular vein, ragged scars an evil testament to the awakening of the Baron of Blood. A giant rubber bat vomits forth a clotted prayer and resurrects its master, who haunts an ominous castle and preys upon the supple buffet of women who inhabit the nearby village. Roy Ward Baker’s tale is both deadly serious and darkly humorous, walking that nebulous boundary between camp and convention.

The Count rises from the ashes and soon terrorizes the local village. After the murder of a young woman, the locals set fire to the castle but Dracula survives…because stone castles don’t burn so well. Some time later (time is a mystery here, could be weeks or years) Paul, a womanizer on the run from the cops, has the unfortunate luck to escape the town elder and meet the elder undead. His brother Simon and Simon’s fiancĂ©e Sarah soon discover his fate and must destroy the evil that now lurks in the darkness.

The story seems to refute the basic vampire mythology since every person bitten by Dracula dies instead of rising as a minion. A female vampire is briefly introduced and seduced by Paul but is actually murdered by being stabbed to death…with a knife. Dracula still retains an aversion to the Christian cross but fortunately has a slow but tenacious bat that not only murders a church full of women, but is dexterous enough to chew a necklace from between bulging cleavage. The story is London in the raw set in the 19th century, with swinging singles and free love facing the consequences of impulsive behavior.

Religion falls victim to the carnivorous Chiroptera, since it leaves its doors open to all who enter. Hint: when hiding from a giant bat…close the fucking doors! Simon has the final word with shocking results proving that vampires are inflammable, after all.

Final Grade: (C)

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