Dracula A.D. 1972 DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Warner Home Video
Directed by Alan Gibson
Written by Don Houghton
1972, Region 1 (NTSC), 96 minutes, Rated PG
DVD released on October 4th, 2005
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula
Peter Cushing as Professor Van Helsing
Stephanie Beachum as Jessica Van Helsing
Christopher Neame as Johnny Alucard
The year is 1872 and a runaway stage coach is barreling down a dirt road with reckless abandon.
On the coach, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing – Dracula, The Mummy, Star Wars) and Dracula (Christopher Lee – Dracula, Sleepy Hollow, Lord of the Rings Trilogy) are duking it out.
Suddenly, the coach loses complete control, and after the dust settles, both men are dead.
Flash forward 100 years.
A group of hippies crash a party of the stiff upper class. After they cause the general mayhem that hippies are known to cause, the police are called and the hippies flee.
Later on, at a coffee shop, the leader of the group, Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame – Species III), asks his friends if they are up for something new. Something different. Something dangerous.
He wants to raise the devil.
Well, as it goes, he doesn't raise the devil, but he does raise something just as evil. Dracula.
As fate would have it, one of the hippies, Jessica (Stephanie Beachum – And Now the Screaming Starts!), happens to be a Van Helsing — the great-great-granddaughter of the very Van Helsing that died fighting Dracula 100 years previous. And Dracula has one goal — to destroy the Van Helsing household, starting with Jessica.
But it won't be easy, because Jessica's grandfather, uh, Professor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing, again), has kept up with the studies of the occult and he plans on putting Dracula down. Once and for all.
Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee rock.
This film, however, does not.
And, unfortunately, all of the major problems of Dracula A.D. 1972 circle around Cushing and Lee.
The first major problem is there is not enough of them. Since the story centers around Johnny and Jessica (and the other members of the group popping in here and there), it's almost as if the Van Helsing/Dracula rivalry is a side story. Hell, there was so little of Dracula, I glanced at the box cover a couple of times just to make sure it still had Dracula's name in the title and Lee's name in the credits.
The second major problem is, unfortunately, their age. Lee was about 50 in 1972 and Cushing was about 60. For the style of the movie, they just don't work. Hey, you tell me I'm wrong when you see Cushing battle a 20-something-year-old vampire with the porno-esque, funkified music kicking in the background. It just doesn't work.
Ironically, however, Cushing and Lee also make this movie somewhat watchable. These guys are icons and when they are on screen, it's easy to see why. While my eyes may have glazed over during much of the movie, I was always paying attention when either Dracula or Van Helsing was on the screen.
It's just too bad they weren't used more, as the movie would have benefited.
Video and Audio:
Warner did a pretty good job with 1972's anamorphic presentation. There is some grain scattered throughout, but for the most part the colors are quite good and the film is virtually blemish free.
1972's mono soundtrack gets muddled at times, but never enough for me to keep the remote handy. Plus the music is groovy.
A French soundtrack and English, French and Spanish subtitles are also offered.
A theatrical trailer is offered. Wow. Be still my beating heart.
You mean to tell me with all of the Hammer fanatics out there, only a trailer could be unearthed?
It's a good-looking trailer, though.
Hammer fans may want this one to complete their collection, vampire fans may want to rent it and horror fans should just avoid it.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Cyberhome CH-DVD300 DVD player.)
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