Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

You wouldn’t think it was possible to make such a mind dulling and tedious to sit through movie about Dracula running a satanic doomsday cult bent on eradicating the world from all life with biological weapon, but apparently the makers of this movie didn’t read that memo. What’s worse is that the trailer looked pretty incredible in a seedy, trashy 70s way. It promised an orgy of horror and showcased more or less every scene with action in the movie, but as you learn when you watch it, it’s a complete snoozefest. The entire picture is just a complete drag from start to finish. Even the action feels superfluous and dull for the most part. It practically takes forever for Dracula to even make an appearance, let alone do anything remotely noteworthy and for most of the running time the movie consists of nothing but boring conversations. So, it’s bad. Really, really bad. It doesn’t have the decency to be awful enough to be funny. They try to mix spy thriller with horror and Sci-Fi elements and while that sounds like a very imaginative and cooky combination that ought to produce at least camp value to the movie, in practice it’s the opposite. It’s just boring, takes itself too seriously and ends up being complete waste of Christopher Lee (his last Hammer Dracula role) and Peter Cushing’s time.

And if it wasn’t already bad enough as a movie, the ending is absolutely abysmal. You’ve got a great set up when van Helsing and Dracula are left to combat each other inside a burning mansion, but do we see them passionately fight to the death as the place burns to the ground? No, the movie instead has them run outside, where Dracula’s ultimate demise is orchestrated by Dracula accidentally being tangled in a thorny bush and ending up trapped, and van Helsing then just walking over and shoving a stake through his heart. The end. I still get mad just thinking about the ending, it’s that infuriating. You had the opportunity to do an epic, fiery final confrontation between the two but then instead you give us this  obtuse, insulting and weak anti-climax.

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