Dracula A.D. 1972
©1972 Hammer Films Productions


Genre: Horror

Rating: PG

Also known as:
Dracula '72
Dracula Chases the Mini Girls
Dracula Chelsea '72
Dracula Today

Followed by: Rites of Dracula

The movie opens with Dracula (Christopher Lee) and Lawrence Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) battling atop a speeding coach. The coach crashes and Dracula is impaled by one of the coach's wheels but Van Helsing also dies. A stranger (Christopher Neame) gathers Dracula's ring and some of his ashes and buries them near Van Helsing's grave. Cut to Chelsea in 1972, where a group of young people has crashed a party, fleeing as the police arrive. At the their hangout, The Cavern, Johnny Alucard (Christopher Neame) convinces the bored teenagers to take part in a black mass at a desanctified church. Jessica Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham) and her boyfriend Bob (Philip Miller) are reluctant but eventually agree. At home, Jessica's grandfather, Prof. Larimer Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) warns her that the black arts are not to be trifled with. That night, at the church, Jessica is disturbed to discover that it's the site of Lawrence Van Helsing's grave but she's more disturbed when Johnny tries to involve her in the ritual. Caught up in the excitement, Jessica's friend Laura (Caroline Munro) volunteers but the others flee in terror. Moments later, Dracula arises from his grave and bites Laura. At The Cavern the next day, Johnny assures everyone that the ritual was simply a joke and Laura has taken a trip. However, the police find Laura's body at the church and attribute it to a cult killing. When the police inspector (Michael Coles) discovers that Laura was Jessica's friend and her grandfather is an expert on the occult, he puts two and two together and decides to pay Larimer a visit. Upon learning that Laura's body was drained of blood, Larimer warns the inspector that it may have been the work of a vampire. The inspector questions Jessica and she tells him everything when she learns that Laura is dead. Meanwhile, Johnny has brought another of the teens (Marsha A. Hunt) for Dracula to feed on but Dracula is angry that it's not Jessica and makes Johnny into a vampire. Knowing that he's out of his league with vampires, the inspector gives Larimer free reign to go after Dracula but Dracula uses Johnny and a vampirized Bob to capture Jessica. Larimer confronts Johnny and kills him before going after his master. At the church, Larimer finds a sleeping Jessica but is unable to wake her from the sleep Dracula has her in. Larimer uses the daylight to prepare, attacking Dracula when the sun goes down. The mesmerized Jessica helps Dracula but Larimer prevails, sending the vampire back to the grave.

Type of mind control: Vampiric stare

Mind control scenes:
The first two mind control scenes are where Dracula mesmerizes Jessica's friends before biting them. The third mind control scene is where Jessica is under Dracula's control while her grandfather tries to destroy him. At one point, Larimer stabs Dracula with a silver dagger, causing him excruciating pain, but Dracula has Jessica remove it.

Subjective Rating: 4 out of 5
The mind control scenes are relatively brief but, as with most Christopher Lee vampire movies, they are reasonably well done. The first two scenes are simple throwaways with Dracula simply hypnotizing his victims so they don't struggle when he bites them. But the third scene is extraordinary, with Dracula actually using his victim (Jessica) to help him instead of just having her stand around watching like most movies do. As vampire movies go, I thought this one was pretty good.

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