|Scars of Dracula|
|Directed by||Roy Ward Baker|
|Produced by||Aida Young|
Bram Stoker (character)|
Anthony Hinds (screenplay)
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox/Hammer Studios|
|Release date(s)||8 November 1970|
|Running time||96 min.|
It stars Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, alongside Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley, Patrick Troughton, and Michael Gwynn. Although disparaged by some critics, the film does restore a few elements of Bram Stoker's original character: The Count is introduced as an "icily charming host;" he has command over nature; and he is seen scaling the walls of his castle. It also gives Lee more to do and say than any other Hammer Dracula film except its first, 1958's Horror of Dracula.
This film somewhat breaks continuity with the previous film in the series, because the film doesn't carry on directly from where the last film left off (in England) being instead set once again in Dracula's homeland. Though a resurrection scene was added to the opening at the insistence of the distributor, the film was intended to inaugurate a new series.
A prologue shows Dracula resurrected by blood dropped on his "remains" by a bat. (The disintegration from the previous Taste the Blood of Dracula is played in reverse.) Local villagers, enraged that yet another young woman has been murdered by the Count, rise up and set fire to Castle Dracula. However, the Count is safely asleep in a solid stone crypt. When the villagers return home, they find that every single woman and child in the village has been slaughtered in the church by bats.
Falsely accused of rape by the spurned burgomasters' daughter, libertine Paul Carlson flees the Kleinenberg authorities by jumping into a nearby coach which, though driverless, heads off at great speed. He is deposited near Count Dracula's mountaintop castle. Initially he is welcomed by the Count and a beautiful woman. Paul later has a liaison with the woman who concludes their lovemaking by trying to bite his neck. Dracula enters and, casually throwing off Paul's efforts to stop him, savagely stabs the woman to death. Dracula's servant Klove dismembers her body and dissolves the pieces in a bath of either holy water or acid. Trapped in a room high in the castle, Paul uses a line to climb down to a lower window but the line is withdrawn and he is trapped in a dark doorless room.
Paul's more sober brother Simon Carlson and Paul's fiancee Sarah Framsen come searching for him. A maid at the tavern directs them to the castle and they investigate. Dracula has immediate designs on the lovely Sarah, but Klove, who has fallen in love with the young woman, helps the young couple escape by refusing to do Dracula's bidding to remove Sarah's crucifix. The servant pays a terrible price for his disobedience, when he is viciously whipped by Dracula with a hot sword.
Simon, having enlisted the help of the village priest, goes back to the castle to look for his brother. However, the priest is attacked by a large bat and killed and Simon is betrayed by Klove, ending up in the same doorless room as his brother. Opening a coffin in the middle of the room, Simon discovers the sleeping Dracula, but the vampire's power reaches through his closed eyelids causing the young man to collapse before he can take action against the Count. When Simon recovers, Dracula is awake and climbs up the sheer outer wall to go after Sarah, knowing that Simon is trapped. Meanwhile, Simon finds his brother's body in a dark recess of the room, impaled on a metal spike.
Sarah has made her way back to the castle and is confronted by Dracula, who this time uses his bat familiar to remove Sarah's crucifix. Klove frees Simon and the two go up to the battlements to try and save Sarah from Dracula. Klove attacks the Count, but is hopelessly outmatched and thrown over the side of the castle. Simon arrives and throws a heavy iron spike at Dracula. It pierces him but he pulls it out, unharmed, and raises it to impale Simon. But the spike is struck by lightning and Dracula, in flames, falls from the castle wall. The end, for now.
- Christopher Lee (Count Dracula)
- Dennis Waterman (Simon Carlson)
- Jenny Hanley (Sarah Framsen)
- Christopher Matthews (Paul Carlson)
- Michael Gwynn (The Priest)
- Michael Ripper (Landlord)
- Patrick Troughton (Klove)
- Anouska Hempel (Tania)
- Wendy Hamilton (Julie)
- Bob Todd (Burgomaster)
The film was released in some markets on a double feature with The Horror of Frankenstein.
- ↑ Pyrie, David (1973). A Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema, 1946-1972. Gordon Fraser. p. 98.