Colchester, Essex, 1983 AD. I am at a party and have become quite heavily involved with a pretty young lady. The new romance comes to an abrupt end, however, when I check my watch and realise that ‘Dracula, A.D. 1972’ is about to start on Anglia telly. It’s a film I haven’t yet seen, but KNOW will be great, so I rather abruptly make my excuses and leave, leaving my paramour both tearful and furious. Thus, the pattern of a life is set.
‘Dracula, A.D. 1972’ is a supremely silly film. At times, it’s educationally sub-normal. But I love it. I love the middle aged kids and the groovy places they hang out where the sixties still cling to the décor like pot smoke to a pair of garish curtains, and I love, love, love the fact that Count Dracula is going to bite them all and turn their groovy scene to shit.
I love the fact that it takes Van Helsing ten minutes and a pad and pencil to work out that Johnny Alucard’s surname is Dracula spelled backwards. I love that you can now kill a vampire with a power shower, or a bush. I love Peter Cushing’s concession to hip, a moderately daring neckerchief. I love the music, even 'The Stoneground', but especially the electronic séance track by White Noise, from 'An Electric Storm', one of my favourite albums ever. I like the vacuity of the male characters, and the fecundity of the female cast, perhaps the foxiest, bustiest bunch of Hammer starlets in history (Stephanie Beacham is outstanding in this respect). Most of all, I love that Hammer are getting a bit desperate and trying something new and, for the most part, getting it wrong – and I love that it doesn’t matter because the dividing line between brilliantly awful and awfully brilliant doesn't exist in this context.
‘Dracula, A.D. 1972’ is ninety minutes of everything I love and cherish and admire and am obsessed with about British horror films, and I can categorically say that leaving the party and the girl and rushing home to watch it all those years ago had an enormous effect on me, an impact that has reverberated every day since, and, for better or worse, has directly led to this blog and all the stuff attached to it. And it was worth it. It was all worth it.