“You have the courage to do what has to be done.”
William Hargood (Geoffrey Keen), Samuel Paxton (Peter Sallis) and Jonathon Secker (John Carson) are three prominent business men who on the last Sunday of every month do charity work in the East end of London. They leave their families and visit the local brothel.
One Sunday evening they are partaking in their usual debauchery and actually quite bored with it when a young man comes into their private room and takes away one of the young ladies that was to be their entertainment. Ruffled by the impertinence Hargood questions the proprietor of the establishment as to who the young man is. The owner of the brothel states that he is Young Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates). It is reputed that the young man was disowned by his father for performing a black mass in the family chapel. It is said he sold his soul to the devil.
Knowing about Courtley’s continued quest for intense pleasure, and now fully intrigued by the Courtley, the three men take him to supper inquiring about how they can enhance their own pleasure. Courtley asked them if they are willing to sell their souls to the devil. Courtley promises them untold pleasure.
He then takes them to wheeler dealer named Weller (Roy Kinnear). Weller sells them a brooch, cloak and the dried blood of Dracula. They then go to an abandoned church. Courtley puts some of the dried blood into goblets and mixes it with some of his own blood. He tells the men to drink it. Appalled they refuse.
Courtley drinks the blood himself and begins screaming and writhing. He grabs at the men. They beat him with their canes and run away. Courtley lays on the floor of the cathedral dead. Courtley’s spilled blood resurrects Dracula (Christopher Lee). Dracula vows that the men who killed his servant will be destroyed.
“Taste the Blood of Dracula” was released in 1970 and was directed by Peter Sasdy. This is the fifth entry in the Hammer Dracula series. There were nine in all. It is the fourth time Christopher Lee is playing the vampire. He played Dracula 9 times, 7 for Hammer. It is a direct sequel to “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave” 1968. All in all it is a decent addition to the franchise.
“Taste the Blood of Dracula” was originally written without Dracula at all. With Lee's increasing reluctance to play the vampire, Hammer intended to replace Lee and Dracula in the franchise with the Lord Courtley character, played by Ralph Bates, as a vampire who was created after drinking Dracula’s blood. He would then seek revenge on those that killed him. Hammer's American distributor refused to release the film if the real Dracula didn’t make an appearance. Much cajoling and an increased salary lured Lee back to the role.
The pace is OK for the most part. There are parts that are a little slower than others. It does take awhile for Dracula to show up. People should be use to that. In “Horror of Dracula” Lee only had seven minutes of screen time. Here he is on screen a bit longer. The premise is a little lame. He is taking revenge on the three men who killed his servant. So when did Dracula need an excuse to wreak havoc.
What is noticeable is that he doesn’t directly kill the three men but uses their children as weapons. That makes sense since Dracula is heterosexual and the act of biting someone in the neck is a sexual action. He turns the two daughters into semi-vampires. They in turn either kill their fathers or, in the case of Jeremy, Lucy turns him into a semi-vampire and then sends him off to kill dad. None of the fathers are bitten just killed. Patricide is acceptable, incest is not.
In the British version there are a couple boobs and a snake dance in the brothel.