DRAC­ULA Palance of ter­ror

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Re­views -

re­leased OUT NOW! 1973 | 15 | Blu-ray/dVd

Direc­tor dan Cur­tis

Cast Jack Palance, Nigel dav­en­port, si­mon Ward, Fiona lewis

Direc­tor Dan Cur­tis up­dated the un­dead myth with 1972’s The Night Stalker, the TV movie that gave the world ghoul-chas­ing hack Carl Kolchak but this take on Bram Stoker’s clas­sic is all about fi­delity, pre­serv­ing the king of the vam­pires in Vic­to­rian as­pic.

For all that it chases au­then­tic­ity, its star makes a deeply im­prob­a­ble Drac­ula. One of cin­ema’s nat­u­ral gun­slingers and gang­sters, Jack Palance un­der­plays the role, ur­bane and gen­tle­manly but ca­pa­ble of some pur­pose­ful strid­ing when the oc­ca­sion de­mands. He looks a lit­tle like a Ve­gas pi­anist in this and is, ul­ti­mately, just as men­ac­ing, as mis­placed a ro­man­tic lead as an icon of hor­ror.

There’s a short­fall of scares in gen­eral. “A new height in un­abated ter­ror!” pants the trailer but in truth this is slug­gish, flac­cid stuff. With its Brit thesp cast it has the hand­some ma­hogany creak of Mas­ter­piece Theatre but it just doesn’t de­liver the jolts.

One lone, mag­nif­i­cent shot – Drac­ula on a for­lorn Whitby beach, the wind whip­ping the sails of a wrecked ship while a dead sailor use­lessly grasps a cru­ci­fix – seems to be­long to an­other film en­tirely.

Ex­tras Trail­ers; gallery. Nick Setch­field

Mar­vel artist Gene Colan based his Tomb Of Drac­ula take on Jack Palance – three years be­fore he was cast in this.

Johnny Cash belted an­other one out.

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