Scars of Dracula
scars of dracula | roy ward baker | anthony hinds | christopher lee | dennis waterman | jenny hanley | dracula | vampire | vampires | sequel | horror of dracula | hammer | united kingdom | patrick troughton | michael gwynn | michael ripper | based on | novel | bram stoker
Film: Scars of Dracula
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writer: Anthony Hinds
Starring: Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman and Jenny Hanley
This film was another one that I sought out when I was working my way through the Hammer Dracula films. I believe this was one of the harder ones to find actually and it took me a few times to get it from Netflix originally as all the DVDs seemed to be cracked and on a very long wait back then. This is now my second viewing for a couple of October Movie Challenges I’m working through as this filled multiple categories. The synopsis is a young man, Paul Carlson (Christopher Mattehws), gets lost and spends the night at Count Dracula’s (Christopher Lee) castle. His brother Simon (Dennis Waterman) comes to the small town where all traces end to look for him.
We begin seeing a castle. There is a red cape with a pile of dust and a necklace. A bat hovers over it, dropping blood onto it. The dust slowly becomes Dracula. It then cuts to a man walking a woman through the woods and he enters a tavern. The woman has been bit on the neck by a vampire. The landlord is played by Michael Ripper and he gets the men together, including a priest played by Michael Gwynn. The landlord’s wife is Maria (Margo Boht) and she tries to stop them. When she can’t, she’s told to take all of the villagers staying behind to the church.
They go to the castle. They trick the odd caretaker, Klove (Patrick Troughton), into letting them in. They then set fire to the castle. The men return to the village, believing they are victorious to find that the bats under Dracula’s power have killed all of the women.
We then shift to a birthday party for a young woman, Sarah (Jenny Hanley). Sitting next to her is her boyfriend, Simon. She is not having as much fun since Simon’s brother is not there. We then cuts to him in bed with a woman. The brother is Paul and her name is Alice (Delia Lindsay). She is desperate for him to stay and we learn that he is bit of a playboy. She is mad when she realizes that he is not going to school, but to see another woman. Her father shows up who is the burgomaster of the city, played by Bob Todd. Paul flees being chased by police.
He arrives at the party and gives Sarah her present, but realizes the glass on it is broke. He states that he will fix it and give it back to her once it has. The police show up and he jumps out of a window. He lands in a carriage that carries him out of town. The problem is that it is out of control. The carriage brings him to the village from the beginning. He meets with Julie (Wendy Hamilton) who is employed at the inn. She takes a liking to him and allows him to come inside. They start to kiss until the landlord enters the room. He forces Paul out. He then searches the woods and finds another carriage. He climbs in to sleep, but we see it is driven by Klove. He brings Paul and the carriage to the castle.
It is there Paul then meets Tania (Anouska Hempel), who invites him in and prepares a bed for him. Paul is working his magic on her when he meets Dracula. He tries to leave, but Dracula won’t allow it. That night he is visited by Tania and they make love. The following morning, Dracula busts into the room and kills her. Paul is locked in the room and gets the idea to make a rope from drapes to a window below his. The problem is that he’s trapped in this room with no exit after Klove cuts his rope and Dracula’s coffin rests in it.
From here the police along with Simon and Sarah search for what happened to Paul. It brings this young couple to the castle of Dracula and a nightmare to find out what happened as well as surviving.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap and where I want to start is delving into the story. I’ve recently watched Taste the Blood of Dracula and this movie came out the same year. It is a sequel to that one and I like that we are picking up where Dracula died from the previous one. This is interesting is that a bat brings him back to life. My issue is how does Dracula control it? The only thing I can think is that despite being dead, his energy is still around. We don’t get a lot in the movies before this, but from what I remember of him being able to control animals in the novel. I can let it slide, but it feels they’re adding things to continue the movies. We don’t know the timeframe from him being resurrected to the events that kick this off so I’m not going to hold it against the movie too much.
From there, the story of this one is lacking for me. We have Dracula living in his castle; he has a vampire bride in Tania and Klove as a human familiar. The villagers nearby know of him and are terrified. We get these younger people from the city coming around and stirring things up. There is a lot of downtime in this movie though. It isn’t completely boring, but it feels stale. I like that Dracula is protecting himself with bats. That is the only new thing here to be honest. They don’t move like they would in nature which takes me out, but doesn’t ruin it either.
Since I’ve gone into the bats, I’ll go to the effects. The bat effects aren’t great. You can see they’re fake and they don’t do a lot to hide them, putting them front and center. It was laughable actually. There is charm there as well. Aside from that, I think the blood is a bit bright, but I have a soft spot there. I think the cinematography is fine as well. It doesn’t stand out, I don’t have issues though either.
I’ll then go to the acting. Lee is a legend, but I can see that his heart isn’t in the role. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time either. Waterman and Matthews are fine as the brothers. I like that they’re opposite ends. It is interesting that Hanley is seeing Simon, but wants Paul. That feels real to me. Troughton was solid as this wild looking caretaker. Gwynn, Ripper and the other villagers work. Hamilton, Hempel and Lindsay were all attractive as well. The acting is solid and fits for what was needed for me.
So then in conclusion here, this movie is fine. The line of films is getting stale. The highlights for me are how they bring Dracula back and his use of bats to protect himself. I didn’t care for how they killed Dracula here. The acting was fine across the board. The effects for the bats weren’t good, but I’m forgiving. The rest were solid. Soundtrack feels very Hammer to me which is good. This to me is one of the lesser efforts. I’d recommend this to Hammer fans or those that enough this line of Dracula films. There are better ones in the series for sure. I’d say this movie is over average for me, but lacking elements for me to go much higher.
My Rating: 6 out of 10