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Roy Ward Baker
Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Jenny Hanley
John Elder

When a young man and his girlfriend unwittingly visit the Count's castle, they find themselves trapped in a face-to-face frenzy of bloodthirsty vixens, religious blasphemy and sadistic henchmen.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $26.99
Release Date: 9/10/19

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Constantine Nasr and Randall Larson
• Audio Commentary with Director Roy Ward Baker, Actor Christopher Lee and Film Historian Marcus Hearn
• 1.66:1 Version of Film
• “Blood Rites”” Featurette
• Trailers
• Still Gallery


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-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Scars of Dracula [Blu-Ray] (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 29, 2019)

For Christopher Lee’s seventh appearance as the vampiric count, we head to 1970’s Scars of Dracula. After Paul Carlson (Christopher Matthews) winds up at Dracula’s (Lee) castle, he ends up dead.

Concerned, Paul’s brother Simon (Dennis Waterman) goes in search of the missing man. Along with his girlfriend Sarah (Jenny Hanley), Simon finds himself at Dracula’s abode as well.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t go as planned. Faced with blood-sucking evil, Simon and Sarah fight to stay alive.

Prior to Scars, I’d seen three of nine Dracula flicks from Hammer Studios. This list included the original – 1958’s Horror of Dracula - as well as later-day entries via 1972’s Dracula AD 1972 and 1973’s Satanic Rites of Dracula.

Of those three, Horror easily offered the best movie, though Rites worked fairly well, too. 1972 delivered a dated, silly clunker.

Happily, Scars follows along the “pretty good” trajectory. While probably not anyone’s idea of a great Dracula film, it nonetheless does more right than wrong.

As usual, Lee provides an effective take on the Count. His makeup artist lets him down at times, as the attempts to give Lee a pale visage occasionally mean he resembles a sad-sack mime, but Lee’s actual performance seems charismatic and menacing.

The other actors hold up their end of the bargain as well. None of them excel, but they offer effective enough turns and do nothing to harm the project.

Director Roy Ward Baker stages the tale in a logical manner and ensures that it builds tension as it goes. Scars opens with a prologue to introduce Dracula, and this becomes a good choice since we then lose the Count for a long stretch of time.

That segment mainly focuses on Paul, and it can drag a little, as we may spend a little too much cinematic real estate on that character. Still, the movie proceeds at a decent pace, so I could see some minor trimming in the Paul segments, but they’re not a real problem.

Once Paul meets his fate and Simon pursues this issue, the movie kicks into higher gear. For the rest of the story, we find a nice sense of tension and terror as Dracula’s threat builds.

Again, I can’t view Scars as a great Dracula film, but it’s a good one. It does more than enough right to end up as a satisfying exploration of the character and situations.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Scars of Dracula appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though dated, the image appeared generally adequate.

Sharpness usually seemed solid. Occasional instances of softness interfered at times, but those moments appeared modest and appeared related to the original photography.

I saw no examples of moiré effects or jagged edges, and the presentation seemed to lack evidence of edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to create any distractions, and grain remained natural, without signs of digital noise reduction.

Colors came across as fairly full. The movie opted for a reasonably natural palette that largely appeared pretty dynamic.

Black levels usually stayed fairly deep and dense, while shadow detail showed positive consistency. Ultimately, Scars provided a more than acceptable visual presentation.

As for the DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Scars, it was perfectly adequate for its era but not much better than that. Speech sounded intelligible and clear, though the lines suffered from a somewhat boxy sound.

The movie offered a moody score, and these elements came across reasonably well. While the music lacked great range, it seemed clear enough.

The effects represented the source elements in a competent manner. These elements offered reasonable accuracy without great punch. All of this was good enough for an age-adjusted “C+“.

Two audio commentaries appear here, and the first comes from film historians Constantine Nasr and Randall Larson. Don’t expect Larson to earn that equal billing, however. He pops up briefly to chat for maybe five minutes about the movie’s score, but the rest of the track all comes from Nasr.

While Nasr gets into some of the usual production details and biographies we expect from a film historian, but Nasr also digs into criticisms of the movie – lots and lots of criticisms. Hoo boy – Nasr finds a lot of flaws here, and he seems happy to share.

Though I liked Scars, I appreciate this point of view, as it’s good to hear such blunt treatment of the movie. Nasr brings us an engaging, informative take on the film.

For the second commentary, we hear from director Roy Ward Baker, actor Christopher Lee and film historian Marcus Hearn. Recorded in 2000, all three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the film’s production and other issues related to Hammer and the participants’ experiences.

At times, we get some good insights, and Lee offers a charming personality. Don’t expect to learn a ton about the movie, though, as this ends up as a spotty chat. Though we get a decent array of notes, the track never becomes especially memorable.

Entitled Blood Rites, a featurette fills 18 minutes, three seconds. It offers notes from eofftv.com editor Kevin Lyons, English Gothic author Jonathan Rigby, cultural historian John J. Johnston, Hammer Story co-author Alan Barnes and actor Jenny Hanley.

“Rites” examines the movie’s production basics, cast and performances, makeup, budgetary issues, score, graphic content and the film’s rating. Though it lacks much focus, “Rites” offers a mix of useful notes.

The disc includes a 1.66:1 version of the movie. It’s unclear for which ratio the filmmakers composed the image but it’s nice to have this option.

In addition to two trailers, we get a Still Gallery. It shows 125 images that mix shots from the movie and promotional elements. I’d like behind the scenes pics but this becomes a good collection nonetheless.

When you go into Scars of Dracula, you shouldn’t expect anything fresh from the characters. Nonetheless, it offers a quality project that compensates for its lack of originality with solid pacing and a general sense of suspense. The Blu-ray brings perfectly adequate picture and audio along with a good array of bonus materials. Scars becomes an enjoyable vampire tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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