Dracula A.D. 1972 is a horror film from Hammer, and is third-to-last in their Dracula series.
The film opens with Dracula (Christopher Lee) and Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) fighting in 1872, which ends with both of them dead. One of Dracula's servants scoops up Count's ashes and buries them near a church during his rival's funeral. 100 years later Johnny Alucard, a descendant of that servant, convinces a bunch of youths to stage a satanic ritual. This resurrects Dracula, who then starts preying on the modern times. Van Helsing's grandson (also Peter Cushing) is still carrying on the family Dracula-fighting business. Modern-day Van Helsing's granddaughter Jessica (Stephanie Beacham), unfortunately, is one of the youths at that satanic ritual.
The seventies setting is revisited in the sequel The Satanic Rites of Dracula, which would be the last film to feature Christopher Lee as Count Dracula.
Examples in the film:
- Absolute Cleavage: From Laura in the scene where Johnny is using her in the blood rite to return Dracula to life.
- Adaptation Name Change: Van Helsing's first name is changed from Abraham to Lawrence.
- Alucard: Johnny's surname, which marks him a servant of Dracula. Hilariously, Van Helsing has to write both names out on a piece of paper and draw lines from letter to letter to figure this out (or to explain it for dummies in the audience).
- Annual Title: Dracula A.D. 1972.
- Broad Strokes: This film uses the premise that Van Helsing and Dracula fought in the 1800s like in Horror of Dracula but changes the date and place and ignores the numerous sequels to Horror.
- Cannot Cross Running Water: Vampires in these films can be killed with running water. This leads to a rather undignified death for vampirized Johnny when he is killed by getting knocked into a shower, which he then accidentally turns on by way of his own panicked flailing.
- Catapult Nightmare: Jessica has one when Gaynor is being eaten by Dracula.
- Distant Sequel: The film takes place approximately 70 to 100 years after the earlier films.
- Disturbed Doves: Seen in the climax in the abandoned church.
- Evil Is Petty: Johnny, who smashes an expensive figurine simply to aggravate a stuffy matron.
- Fainting: Jessica faints when she's captured by Johnny and recently vampirized Bob.
- Hollywood Satanism: Johnny convinces his friends to do a satanic ritual for kicks to resurrect Dracula.
- Identical Grandson: Both Van Helsing and Johnny Alucard are identical to their grandparents.
- Killed Offscreen: Before the film's release, there was a scene filmed that revealed the fate of Bob. However in the final version, the only reference to Bob's death is when he's discovered by Van Helsing.
- Kiss of the Vampire: How Dracula likes to eat his victims, sometimes with a kiss on the lips before the bite in the neck. As usual, the girls seem to be put into some kind of mind-control daze when in close proximity to Dracula.
- Kubrick Stare: Dracula gives one to Van Helsing during their climactic confrontation.
- Ms. Fanservice: Jessica might be Hammer's best, which is saying something.
- No Immortal Inertia: Done twice with Dracula's demise in the opening and ending.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The film was inspired by the story of the Highgate Vampire, a media sensation surrounding reports of supposed supernatural activity in Highgate Cemetery in London in the early 1970s.
- The Snack Is More Interesting: Early in the film, during a wild party, a couple are having sex under the table. The woman is awkwardly trying to finish her apple throughout.
- Wooden Stake: The 1870s confrontation between Lawrence van Helsing and Dracula ends when a carriage crash leaves a broken wheel lodged in Dracula's chest. After a brief struggle, a broken-off spoke reduces him to a skeleton that quickly crumbles to dust.