England’s Hammer Films had the misfortune of releasing their nicely decorated but somewhat tepid science fiction romp Moon Zero Two in the wake of 1968’s two big genre-changing films, and as a result, Hammer’s effort comes out looking decidedly small-scale and quaint. Perhaps even more crushing, Hammer released their breezy little moon adventure movie in 1969 and wound up competing directly with the actual Apollo moon landing.
As latter-day Hammer films go, The Vampire Lovers is an entertaining, sexy romp. It relies less on the hammy scare tactics of the later Dracula series and more on the audience’s assumptions.
Scars of Dracula isn’t an abominably bad entry into the series. It’s just completely derivative and pointless, falling back onto the tiresome “doomed souls visiting Castle Dracula” and trying to set itself apart by giving Christopher Lee’s vampire count more lines in this one movie than he’d had in all the others combined. They don’t fool anyone, though, and while Scars boasts some memorable moments, the gestalt experience is one best forgotten.