GET THE CUSHION IT'S CUSHING: 'Dracula AD 1972... by PeterCushingAppreciationSociety
#GETTHECUSHIONITSCUSHING: AT ONE TIME it was THE Peter Cushing film that we received most negative comments about, if we discount the 1968 'The Blood Beast Terror' . . (though I am convinced with Blood Beast, the negative grew purely from a comment Cushing once made in an interview, not about the actual content of the film, but the non too subtle sound of the title.)
FOR A WHILE, the comments for and against the film, arrived about 50-50. Now, it appears DRACULA AD 1972 has come full circle. Since the early 90's, an appreciation of retro 1970's produced films have enjoyed a revival, with many features now striving to replicate that 70's look, the sound, the fashion. Hammer films through-out their time, always seems to just miss-time fads and crazes. Although their timing was spot on with a resurrection of Dracula in 58, and twisting the focus of Frankenstein on the 'Doctor', rather than the creation, in CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Hammer went into co production on Kung Fu vampire flick, after the chop socky had cooled off.
REGRETTABLY, for some audiences, they dragged Dracula to the land of hot pants and psychedelia, when the trendies had long consigned their loons and tank tops, to jumble sales, and 'love ins' and 'pot fueled flower power drop ins and outs', had puffed their last and had really gone to pot. BUT, that didn't stop Hammer. A band of 'teenagers' out for kicks, and looking for all the world like a Brit styled 'bunch of meddling kids' from Scooby-Doos, would form the film's doe-eyed victims and as usual, it would be Peter Cushing's #VANHELSING who would save the day. But, what scriptwriter Don Houghton did to shake up the formula, and the placing of Van Helsing, how and when . . . . would male all the difference.
IMAGINE IT, sitting in your local cinema, in September 1972, watching DRACULA AD 1972 to for first time. The opening pre credit scene is the stuff of Hammer fans dreams. Van Helsing and Dracula face to face, fighting to the death, on top of a horse drawn carriage!! The narration explains the year is 1872, we are in our element! Then, the carriage wheel, Dracula dies, but Van Helsing perishes too! Where now? And then, the gravestone and the jet plane . It must have been a shock to an audience who were getting settled in to a film, they must have thought, was a return to Cushing, Lee and Dracula 1958 land?
The prologue to AD 1972, is a terrible tease, for what could have been, the Dracula film that never was. Maybe that is why, fans cherishes those four minutes . . . it was just 86 minutes short of what could have been a classic.
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