Meant as the B-side of a horror double feature, Plague of the Zombies was paired with the higher profile Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Plague of the Zombies got lost in the large shadow of Hammer’s vampire juggernaut, but fans have had a chance to go back and re-evaluate the film.
There is practically nothing at all on display in this film that is surprising. The plot is a rehash of the tried and true and terribly over-used mummy movie plot involving an expedition that disturbs a mummy’s tomb only to have some mad Arab resurrect the mummy and send it out to kill those who desecrated the temple.
Moon Zero Two just couldn’t beat out Neil Armstrong actually hopping around on the surface of the moon, even though the real moon ended up not having any dancing girls or scotch.
Paul investigates and discovers that all of them were clients of Christine. There’s also the body of a poor sewer man with no dialogue other than “Aarrgghh,” played Michael Ripper.
The Pirates of Blood River is still a solid adventure tale, with plenty of action, a dependable cast, and a look that fools you into thinking this is a much higher budget film than it actually is. It’s nice to see these old Hammer swashbucklers getting some attention.
Even though it never really becomes a swashbuckling adventure (although Peter Cushing does get to swing from a chandelier) or a horror film, Hinds exploits the trappings of both genres to create a thrilling hybrid driven by strong characters and solid British acting.
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.
As is the case with both Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein, one can’t help but compare it to the old Universal film. I’m a big fan of Karloff’s The Mummy, and I’m a big fan of this one.