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4 Film Favorites: Draculas

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • 4 Film Favorites: Draculas
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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 18 and over
  • Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
  • Release Date: Nov. 6 2007
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000U1ZV7G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,173 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

4 Film Favorites: Draculas (Dbl DVD)

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By Keith Little TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 21 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You get the 4 films on 2 double sided discs. All are in colour.

Disc 1, Side A - Horror Of Dracula - 1957, 81 mins, widescreen 1.85:1, English Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles: English, French, Spanish & Portuguese, extras: cast & crew notes, theatrical trailer
Side B - Dracula Has Risen From The Grave - 1969, 92 mins, widescreen 1.85:1, English & French Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles: English, French & Spanish, extra: theatrical trailer

Disc 2, Side A - Taste The Blood Of Dracula - 1970, 95 mins, widescreen 1.85:1, English Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles: English, French & Spanish, extra: theatrical trailer
Side B - Dracula A.D. 1972 - 1972, 96 mins, widescreen 1.85:1, English & French Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles: English, French & Spanish, extra: theatrical trailer
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The releases of box sets have driven down the price of vintage horror films. This Boxset is a must for all horror fans. Christopher Lee is in a class by himself. The exrtas are a bit thin and that is why I cannot give it 5 stars. You get the original Bram Stoker Story, a classic early 70s hippie Dracula flick (loved by the fans, hated by the critics) and two more generic Serial Dracula movies. The 1st two are also featuring Peter Cushing in the role of Van Helsing. The two others are carrying the Hammer films trademarks and are lot of fun to watch, but they do not bring anything to the Lee's legacy. Scars of Dracula is far better and often overlooked. On two of the movies, the infamous Johnny Alucard is beefing up the cast.

I wonder why nobody has released all Lee's 7 Dracula movies (even if the Prince of Darkness title is not worth watching)
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Classic from my youth; I love those old scary movies.
The original Dracula I knew as a kid was Scary and mean;
nowadays you see Dracula as a 'victim' of a spell, romantic and not scary at all.
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Merci beaucoup, arriver dans le délais
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9df405ac) out of 5 stars 170 reviews
80 of 95 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c3918b4) out of 5 stars Four of Hammer's better Dracula films April 28 2008
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Skipping the Hammer sequels Warners don't have the rights to - the Christopher Lee-free Brides of Dracula, Dracula Prince of Darkness, Scars of Dracula and The Satanic Rites of Dracula - this is nonetheless an excellent collection of some of the best in the series.

Hammer's groundbreaking 1958 version of Dracula (aka Horror of Dracula) is still one of the very best despite the many liberties Jimmy Sangster's concise and highly effective script takes with Bram Stoker's novel to whittle it down to an hour-and-a-half. It's not just the names that have been changed around and the cast of characters greatly reduced to Hammer's budget levels (admirably disguised here by Bernard Robinson's excellent production design). John Van Eyssen's Jonathan Harker is no longer a lawyer, but here is posing as a librarian to get into Dracula's castle with an ulterior motive - presumably on the grounds that the audience knows going in just what Dracula is so there's no point putting the hero through all that mystery when there's staking to be done. The budget doesn't stretch to the voyage and arrival of the ghost ship Demeter or even a Renfield for that matter, and this Dracula has no social interaction with his intended victims in Whitby or London - in fact, he never even leaves the continent. Nor is the vampire fascinated with Harker's intended - here he simply seeks her out as revenge. Yet the changes work surprisingly well, and even throws in a few good twists like the location of Dracula's hiding place.

Although he doesn't have much screen time, Christopher Lee is inspired casting, a feral, vicious creature rather than a Eurotrash smoothie while a very agile Peter Cushing makes a surprisingly physical Van Helsing, the final fight between the good doctor and the evil count surprisingly energetic and violent before the best of the studio's ashes to ashes, dust-to-dust finales. Although rather sedate by today's standards, this film still has a surprising degree of energy and it's easy to see why it made had such a profound impact on the horror genre for decades to come. The first colour version of the tale, it made a big selling point of being able to see the blood in all its vivid hues of red, although it also makes much play on the vampire's female victims being absolutely gagging for it (perhaps not so surprising with Peter Cushing and Michael Gough as the male leads), setting the groundwork for the tits'n'fangs formula that would become the studio's bread and butter over the next couple of decades. A surprisingly cheap picture, thanks to Bernard Robinson's elegant production design and fine direction from Terence Fisher before the drink got to him, it never looks cheap: if anything, it's rather seductively good looking. Unfortunately this is slightly compromised by Warners' widescreen DVD, which feels overcropped at 1.85:1 (the film was intended to be shown in 1.66:1) and there's also a slight wobble at the end of the closing credits.

For the US release of Hammer's fourth Dracula film (only the third to actually feature Christopher Lee, the Count sitting out Brides of Dracula), Warner Bros. used a one-sheet of a woman's neck with a sticking plaster on it, following the title Dracula Has Risen From the Grave with the single word 'Obviously.' The film itself, however, is anything but tongue-in-cheek, and played deadly straight with a conviction the series gradually lost over the years. It's probably the best-looking of all the Hammer Dracula sequels, and also the first where Christopher Lee actually speaks. As usual he's almost a background figure for much of the film, with the bulk of the film carried by Barry Andrews' atheist student romancing Veronica Carlson's niece of Rupert Davies' Monsignor, who inadvertently starts the blood flowing again when his attempt to exorcise Dracula's castle only results in the Count being revived from his icy grave by blood from a convenient cut. Finding himself cast out of his home and aided by Ewan Hooper's terrified priest (Renfield presumably being otherwise engaged), Dracula determines to take his revenge on Davies and his kin, stopping off en route for a light snack with Barbara Ewing's busty redheaded barmaid.

With a prologue that takes place before Dracula, Prince of Darkness and the main body of the film taking place a year later, it takes some liberties with the vampire mythology: the revived Dracula's first appearance is as a reflection, he has no problem removing crosses from willing girls' necks while a stake alone is no longer enough to kill him: you have to pray as well, which is a bit of a problem when your hero doesn't believe in God. Yet they're not as jarring as they might be, the latter resulting in one particularly memorably gory sequence. The change in director from Terence Fisher, sadly in decline at that time and unavailable due to a car crash, to Freddie Francis gives the film less of a production-line feel than most of the studio's Dracula series and, despite an awkward filter in some scenes and a distinctly jaundiced look for the Count, the film has a much more expansive look and feel almost unique in the series, with a striking and well-employed rooftop set courtesy of undervalued production designer Bernard Robinson and some relatively unfamiliar Pinewood standing sets rather than the overused backlot at Bray. He gets good performances too, with a particularly nice turn from Michael Ripper as an amiable innkeeper (as opposed to his usual miserable and terrified innkeepers).

Unfortunately while the DVD boasts excellent colour and definition, some shots look oddly distorted, as if stretched, and the sound wanders in and out of synch far too often for comfort. On the plus side it does restore the censor cuts of about half a dozen gallons of blood spurting from Dracula's chest after he gets staked and includes the original trailer.

Taste the Blood of Dracula follows on so directly from Dracula Has Risen From the Grave that, after one particularly bizarre piece of deus ex machina that borders on the inspired, it begins with Roy Kinnear literally stumbling into the last scene of the movie. On a less welcome note it also marks the point at which an increasingly reticent Christopher Lee was reduced to a cameo figure as the Count - it's not until the halfway point that he's resurrected in a less than convincing display of special effects. Until then much of the film is carried, and rather well, by Geoffrey Keen's Bible-bashing strict disciplinarian Victorian dad, the kind of man you can set your watch by as he sets off to do `charity work' in the East End with his respectable friends John Carson and Peter Sallis saving fallen women - about two each once a month in Roy Hudd's brothel discreetly located in the backrooms of a soup kitchen. It's there that he and his pals are surprised playing horsie by Ralph Bates' dissolute disinherited aristo who has sold his soul to the Devil and offers to broker the same deal for them if they'll buy Dracula's cape and blood for him, reasoning that "Having tried everything that your narrow imaginations can suggest, you're bored to death with it all, right?" Naturally it all ends badly with Bates getting a severe case of indigestion after drinking the blood of the title and getting kicked to death by his new friends, conveniently providing Dracula with a new body and a new mission - to destroy all three men through their children (a typical role-call of amply-bosomed totty, future BBC regulars and supporting actors who never made it to the major leagues in the forms of Linda Hayden, Isla Blair, Martin Jarvis and Anthony Higgins in the days when he was still calling himself Anthony Corlan) while Michael Ripper's ineffectual detective displays a pronounced lack of interest in the mounting body count.

The idea of the sins of the fathers being revenged by their children is a good one, offering both a neat twist and a reason for Lee's extremely limited screen time that keeps him very much to the sidelines until the disappointing finale, but it's certainly one of the more entertaining sequels and, a couple of lapses such as the resurrection scene aside, boasts superior and atmospheric direction from Peter Sasdy with some surprisingly graceful camerawork. It's also the last of the Hammer Draculas that looks like they spent some money on it - when they churned out Scars of Dracula the same year, it looked like they'd spent all their money on this one and had only pocket change and whatever was left over in the studio wardrobe for that!

Warner's DVD offers a good widescreen transfer with the original trailer as the only extra.

For reasons known only to the author, Bram Stoker's Dracula never included the line "Sergeant, I'll bet you a pound to a pinch of s*** that there's a little piece of hash at that party, and if there is, I've got them.", but the early 70s saw that particular oversight put right. Dracula A.D. 1972 saw Hammer trying to pump new life into the old Count with a new creative team whose big idea was basically to rehash the plot of Taste the Blood of Dracula in the 1970s with Christopher Neame in the Ralph Bates role as Johnny Alucard, here conning a thrill-seeking group of with it kids (Michael Kitchen and Caroline Munro among them) into making a date with the Devil with a Black Mass at the deconsecrated church that not only holds Lawrence Van Helsing's body (Lawrence? Whatever happened to Abraham?) and Dracula's ashes. "Okay, okay. But if we do get to summon up the big daddy with the horns and the tail, he gets to bring his own liquor, his own bird and his own pot."

As with the Godzilla films, the main attraction is kept off the screen for most of the running time - top-billed Christopher Lee's role is probably smaller in this than any other in the series, four brief scenes probably totalling no more than ten minutes. Worse still, looking more like Peter Sellers than Transylvanian aristocracy, he brings nothing except continuity to the part: he does what is asked of him with professionalism, but that's about it. Instead the bulk of the film is carried by Neame's Malcolm McDowell wannabe, second-billed Peter Cushing as Van Helsing's grandson Lorimar, Stephanie Beacham and Michael Coles' open-minded cop ("There is a Satan." "Of course. Otherwise we wouldn't need a police force, would we?"). Yet despite the clumsily handled prologue and finale it's fairly entertaining even if it is completely derivative, perhaps even more entertaining now than when it was released because its hip and happening trappings are far funnier than the intentional comic relief - not least Johnny Alucard urging "Dig the music, kids!" during the black mass - and it's a lot better than Dracula 2000.

The DVD also includes the wonderfully over the top trailer - "Are you ready? He's ready. He's waiting to freak you out - right out of this world!" - but not the short making of documentary from when the picture was still called Dracula Today (other rejected titles included Dracula Chases the Mini Girls and Dracula Chelsea '72!).
33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c391908) out of 5 stars Lee's Dracula Masterpieces! Jan. 1 2008
By Lee H. Hasselman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
NO movie company EVER gave a more scenic, rustic,*GOTHIC* ambience than HAMMER STUDIOS!. AND!, as lasting and classic as Lugosi was, Christopher Lee was the PERFECT Dracula!. Hammer began it all with "HORROR OF DRACULA" in 1958, and it was gory for that time!... Several years passed, and the first sequal was 'DRACULA PRINCE Of DARKNESS {My Favorite,and I NEVER understood why this wasn't on this set instead of A.D 72???}.So outstanding was this 2nd installment, that HAMMER,themselves,realized they had something special!. Only to follow were;'DRACULA HAS RISEN'...,'TASTE THE BLOOD'...,and 'SCARS OF DRACULA{highly UNDERATED!}. Finally;Satanic Rites, and A.D.'72. ... But HAMMER did it right!; Little nuances :>{Lamps on carriages, English Countryside, candles,Castles}!!!.
It is a horror fans dream to have such timeless movies to go along with outstanding scripts!,and just 'atmospheric' scenery alone boggles!... HAMMER horror is MORE than enough to quench the pallet!; THUS!; to top it all off ! ; *Christopher Lee* IS at his...The VERY BEST !!!!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c391d40) out of 5 stars you simply can't defeat this awesome value June 26 2010
By Benstarbuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
four Christopher Lee Hammer Dracula films . all of them very fun and scary in varying degrees . proper aspect ratios , subtitles . great prints . basically the keys to the kingdom . enjoy .
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c171024) out of 5 stars Value buy of 4 Dracula movies by Hammer Films! Nov. 11 2008
By Z Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You can't beat the price here on Amazon for this 4-movie set of Dracula movies, i.e. Horror of Dracula, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Taste the Blood of Dracula, and Dracula A.D. 1972. The one thing I did wonder is why they didn't include the second Dracula instalment, i.e. Dracula Prince of Darkness [which by the way is being sold by third parties here on Amazon for exorbitant amounts].

Horror of Dracula
"Horror of Dracula" may not be a faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic Gothic vampire tale, in fact far from it, but it is a fine take of Stoker's novel.In this version, Jonathan Harker goes to Dracula's castle at the beginning under the guise of a librarian, but he actually knows what Dracula is and his purpose is to destroy him. Unfortunately, he is killed by Dracula and the vampire goes to London to prey upon Harker's fiancee, Lucy Holmwood [yes, they changed the names too], and later on Mina Holmwood, Lucy's sister-in-law. It is left to Van Helsing [Peter Cushing] and Arthur Holmwood [Lucy's brother and Mina's husband] to destroy the monster.

Christopher Lee, in his first portrayal of the evil Count Dracula, may not have much screen time, but he makes the most of the limited time he does have. His Count is sensual and evil at the same time - exerting a hypnotic effect upon his female victims that have them eagerly disrobing for the count's pleasure [and fangs:)].

Peter Cushing does an amazing job as Dr Van Helsing, vampire hunter and his commanding presence and determination to hunt down and destroy the monster that is Dracula is so credibly done that I was cheering him on all through the movie.

The female victims are suitably beautiful and helpless in the face of Dracula's charm and manipulations, and though this movie doesn't exactly scream big budget, I thought the production values were pretty decent - the vivid colors, the sets and scenery all enhanced the movie experience.There is a genuine atmosphere of menace that is effectively conveyed via the creepy score and sets.

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave
Though there are mixed reactions to "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave", I personally found it to be very interesting and thought-provoking. The story here begins with the little village in which Castle Dracula is located. It's been a year since the count's reign of terror ended, and yet mysterious events still plague the villagers. When the Monsignor [Rupert Davies] returns for a routine visit, he finds the villagers cowering in fear, including the Parish Priest himself [Ewan Hooper]. When the Monsignor undertakes to exorcise the Castle once and for all, events transpire differently - an unfortunate cut on the Priest's head proves to be the nourishment that brings the Count back to life, though the Monsignor remains oblivious of this fact, returning to his own village. The Count and his now faithful servant, the priest follow hot on the Monsignor's heels, bent on revenge - the target being the Monsignor's lovely niece, Maria [Veronica Carlson]. It's left to the Monsignor and Maria's atheist boyfriend, Paul [Barry Andrews] to save Maria before it's too late.

The production values in this movie were actually quite good - the sets, the score, and cinematography all enhanced the storytelling and made this movie very dark and menacing [the cellar under the inn where the Count is forced to reside looks very authentic].

The acting was good - Christopher Lee returns as the Count and this time, he is really mad and bent on revenge, with more screen time and dialogue to convey his anger. His lust for his prey is convincingly portrayed as usual and the female victims once again fall hopelessly under his spell, baring their necks in anticipation of the Count's 'embrace'. Rupert Davies is also strong in his portrayal of the Monsignor and special mention needs to be made of Ewan Hooper's fallen priest. His guilt and conflict comes across as genuine, and this was one aspect of the movie that made it really good for me - the corruption of good by Dracula, and the test of faith in both the Priest and also the atheist Paul.

Taste the Blood of Dracula
This is the fourth instalment in Hammer productions' Dracula series. The storyline is quite unique in that it centers on a group of middle-aged businessmen who inadvertently cause the Count to be resurrected via an occult ritual conducted by a young nobleman, Courtley. They kill Courtley during the ritual, and leave in a hurry, not realising that by committing murder, they have not only caused Dracula to rise again, but awakened his anger. Dracula is bent on revenge for his acolyte's death and proceeds to kill the trio off by manipulating their children.

The acting in this movie was actually pretty good. Christopher Lee reprises his role as the evil Count and actually has quite a few lines of dialogue here, all delivered in his usual deadpan style. His blood- red eyes and demented expressions are all portrayed with chilling effect. The three doomed men are also played really well - Geoffrey Keen as William Hargood, Peter Sallis as Samuel Paxton, and John Carson as Jonathan Secker are all believable in their roles as lecherous middle-aged men whose lust eventually lead to their downfall. The two girls who play Dracula's victims, Linda Hayden as Alice Hargood and Isla Blair as Lucy Paxton are suitably beautiful and do their roles justice.

I thought the production values were above average - the score was effectively creepy, and the sets were well-done, especially the derelict chapel that is the scene of Dracula's resurrection and also the final battle.

Dracula A.D. 1972
Dracula A.D. 1972 is a campy instalment in the Dracula series made by Hammer Films. The gist of the movie is that Dracula gets resurrected in 1972 by a young acolyte, Johnny Alucard and seeks to destroy the remaining Van Helsings, i.e. Dr Van Helsing [Peter Cushing] and his beautiful, hippie granddaughter Jessica [Stephanie Beacham].

Though Christopher Lee reprises his role as the malevolent count, his screen time is quite limited and I felt too much screen time was wasted on portraying the debauchery and free-swinging lifestyle of 70s Hippie culture - drugs, sex and rock n roll. But, when he does appear, Lee is magnetic as the count and doesn't disappoint in his performance.

But the best performance in this movie is Peter Cushing's 20th century Van Helsing - he is assured, intelligent and above-all single-minded in his determination to save his granddaughter Jessica from the vampire's clutches. Stephanie Beacham is luscious to look at and feisty in her portrayal as the strong-willed Jessica.

The rest of the actors were ho-hum - a bit overdone in some instances [the guy who played Johnny Alucard for example].

All in all, this isn't a great Dracula movie, but it isn't the worst either.

Final Verdict - this is a set worth owning for fans of Dracula movie and the vampire genre/classic horror.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cf698c0) out of 5 stars Taste the Blood of Hammer Feb. 15 2010
By Media Mike - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This nice little four pack is a great introduction to Hammer horror movies, which are admittedly an acquired taste today. When the Hammers came out in the 50's to 70's they were notorious for being shocking (showing --gasp!--blood!). Needless to say, they will seem tame to a modern audience.

On the other hand, we don't get the graphic excess of today's horror movies, and there is a vitality to the proceedings missing from the stage-based look of the Universal predecessors. Dracula doesn't just strike a pose when stalking a victim--he runs across a room and lunges at him. Van Helsing would similarly scamper over a table to get his stake into a vampire.

A big plus is that the Hammer Dracula films feature one or both of two of the best character actors ever - Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

Be aware that the fantasy side of things is toned down. Dracula doesn't turn into a bat or cling to walls, for instance.

Finally, The quality of the movies is not consistent. "Horror of Dracula" is by far the standout, and by the time things get to "1972", inspiration (and the interest of the actors) has fallen considerably. Still, for four movies this is a great price.