In 1872 Dracula (Christopher Lee) is killed by Lawrence Van Helsing (Peter Cushing). Van Helsing dies due to injuries suffered during his struggle with the vampire. One of Dracula’s followers (Christopher Neame) scoops up Dracula’s ashes. He buries some of them in a cemetery near the grave of Lawrence Van Helsing. He saves the rest of the ashes in a glass tube.
The ashes are passed down to family members through the years until they end up with Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame). Johnny hangs out with a gang of kids that cause mischief from time to time. One of the gang members is Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham). Her grandfather is Lorrimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), an ancestor of Lawrence.
In 1972, one hundred years from the destruction of Dracula his disciple Johnny performs a ritual using the remaining ashes with his own blood. His friends are present, but they think that Johnny is just goofing around. When Johnny’s friends realize they are in the middle of a black magic sacrifice, they run away. Dracula is resurrected and kills one of the girls, Laura (Caroline Munro), draining her body of blood.
When Laura’s mutilated body is found police Inspector Murray (Michael Coles) suspects there may be cult activity. He contacts an expert who has worked for the police before, Professor Van Helsing. Van Helsing suspects that Dracula may have something to do with Laura’s death. Johnny brings another girl, Gaynor (Marsha Hunt), to Dracula. Dracula wants Johnny to bring him Jessica. He turns Johnny into a vampire on his promise to bring Van Helsing’s granddaughter to him. Then Dracula will carry out his revenge on the Van Helsing family.
“Dracula A.D. 1972” was released in 1972 and was directed by Alan Gibson. It is a British horror movie produced by the Hammer Film Studios and is the seventh Hammer Dracula film. A sort of sequel was done in 1973 called “Satanic Rites of Dracula” AKA “Count Dracula’s Vampire Bride”.
This version of Dracula takes place in modern times. Even so, there are quite a few gothic touches threaded throughout the film. In trying to make the Dracula character updated the movie ended up just making the film dated. Much of the film is a little campy now, but in the seventies, it would have been a decent offering. There is incongruity between the modern setting and the gothic touches. In the seventies that wouldn’t have been a big deal but looking at it fifty years later it is more strident.
The movie is OK but not great. It’s mostly uneventful. Christopher Lee, despite the fact that the movie is named after his character, has not much more than a bit part. The story is also rather predictable. The updated music score is probably the best part of the film. I actually enjoyed that aspect of it the most.
The movie states that vampires can come back to life, or death, under the right circumstances in a reincarnation sort of way. It also states that vampires can be destroyed by silver bullets or knives in addition to the usual wooden stake. They are also susceptible to daylight and pure flowing water. Apparently, if you want to kill a vampire, all you gotta do is get him wet.
A picture on Lorrimer Van Helsing’s desk is that of Peter Cushing’s late wife.