To help update the vampire mythos (not to mention save on the budget), Hammer Studios set this seventh entry in the Dracula series in (then) modern Swinging London. The results are mixed, but Dracula A.D. 1972 does have it’s moments.
In the 19th century, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) impales Dracula (Christopher Lee) with a wagon wheel. A hundred years later, a bunch of stupid hippies (led by a fey vampire named Johnny Alucard) revive the Count during a black mass. To summon Dracula, Alucard tosses a goblet full of blood onto Caroline (Maniac) Munro’s neck, which is the vampire equivalent of tying a pork chop around your neck so your dog will play with you. Once resurrected, Dracula sets out to be an even bigger pain in the neck, but he’s predictably foiled by Van Helsing’s grandson (also Cushing) who gives him a good old fashioned stake through the heart.
While it’s good to have Cushing back in the Van Helsing role after a four film absence, sadly he’s thoroughly wasted and only appears in a few scenes. Speaking of excellent actors with little to no screen time, Lee also does little more than stand around for his limited role and quickly becomes a supporting character in his own movie by letting all the fucking hippies take center stage.
While the filmmakers may have thought that setting the film in present day might have had it’s advantages, what they didn’t figure is that it would also hopelessly date the flick to no end. So that means if you like your vampire movies filled to the brim with hippies, free love, go-go dancing, and the horrid music of “Stoneground”, then Dracula A.D. 1972 will knock your socks off. Me, I personally hate hippies so the first half of the movie was pretty irritating, but once Dracula showed up and started chowing down of the flower children, things perked up a little bit. The Wa-Wa guitar music is a plus, as is some decent blood and gore, but for the most part, this is just a mediocre entry in the series. The next installment of the franchise, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, was also set in the present day, but upped the sex and gore quotient considerably.
Johnny Alucard gets the best line of the movie while conducting the black mass: “By the 6,000 terrors of Hell, I baptize thee!”
AKA: Dracula Today.