One would assume, then, that with a title like The Satanic Rites of Dracula, the sequel would follow in the footsteps of turning Dracula into a religious anti-icon. But then, honestly, what more can be done to make him Lucifer incarnate than having him summoned by rituals and pentagrams and strange runes?
The plot is a bit of a letdown, especially considering that it’s the first time Van Helsing and Dracula have been on screen together since the first movie.
There’s a reason this emerged as the goriest of all Dracula films, and one of the goriest Hammer films, period: they had to cover up the threadbare production with something.
Despite the weak ending, Taste the Blood is an exceptional entry into Hammer’s Dracula oeuvre. Even Christopher Lee grudgingly admits that it turned out to be a good film, though to this day he won’t stop going on about how corny the title is.
Lee is less of a presence here than in the last film, and his shadow doesn’t seem to loom as powerfully over everything when he’s not present as it did in Prince of Darkness. But when he does show up, he looks exquisite.
It’s great to see Christopher Lee back in action again as the count, and really, that alone is enough to make this film enjoyable. Lee swore this would be the final time he’d play Dracula for Hammer. He was, naturally, back again as the count very shortly there after.
If Brides of Dracula is the forgotten Dracula film, I can’t imagine it will stay that way for very long. It’s simply too good. Maybe not quite as good as the original, but definitely the equal of the next sequel, Dracula, Prince of Darkness, which saw the return of Christopher Lee to the role of Dracula.
The look and style of a Hammer film would become as much a trademark as the blood, the buxom beauties bursting out of their bodices, and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing chasing after one another and wearing those Victorian overcoats.