Hammer films followed up Taste the Blood of Dracula the same year with one of its most violent Dracula sequels, and the last one to be set in the Victorian period of the original story.
This edition finds the Count fallen on rather hard times, his castle having been burned by the locals and only partly restored. He never ventures forth, but relies on various natural and supernatural servants to bring him victims. These servants include an anomalous giant bat (evidently blood-drinking, like the New World vampire bat, but as large as the fruit-eating "flying foxes" of Australia) who seems to communicate with the Count telephathically.
Also on hand is one of the most memorably seedy henchman in a horror movie, the unkempt and grumpy Clove, played by Patrick Troughton (of Dr. Who fame). Clove is the kind of guy who can happily whistle while sawing up a corpse and dropping the severed limbs into a bathtub of acid.
After a lengthy introduction regarding the romantic entanglements of several young people, the story finally brings them to Dracula's castle, where terror (naturally) awaits.
As in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, the local priest is a trembling, meek fellow who lacks the courage to lead the necessary holy crusades against the vampire. He is portrayed with such an absurd hairstyle and manner as to seem, at times, like an escapee from some Monty Python sketch.
The local innkeeper is predictably grumpy and uncooperative. It's a bit jarring to see him played by the stalwart Michael Ripper, who had such a light-comic role in Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. This inn's barmaid is a bit more helpful, but due to being "loose," is naturally destined for a bad end.
Dracula seems at his most sadistic in this movie. Not only is he intent on drinking blood, but he also displays visible pleasure when torturing his servant Clove with a red- hot sword, and murders his current live-in vampire femme with a knife in a fit of pique.
In the DVD extras, director Roy Ward Baker comments that the script was quite brutal, and so he determined to direct the film in that spirit and go all out. However, the makeup effects representing wounds are so cheap as to rob them of much of their scare value. Baker also comments on being the first to film Dracula climbing a sheer castle wall, as the Count is described doing in the novel. This image would be picked up to better effect in later films like Count Dracula.
While there is much that can be criticized in this film, it does achieve a certain primitive intensity. It doesn't hurt that the heroine is played by one of Hammer's most beautiful actresses, Jenny Hanley, who spends most of the film in a low-cut negligee. Curiously, the crucifix shown draped across her bosom in repeated close-up shots seems to used by the filmmakers more as a sexual fetish than a symbol of religious faith.
Dracula Remortis - Spoiler
Extras - The
Many Faces of Christopher Lee
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