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Film / The Satanic Rites of Dracula

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In the days to come, you will pray for death.

The Satanic Rites of Dracula (or Dracula and his Vampire Bride in some countries) is a 1973 Hammer Horror film and a sequel to Dracula A.D. 1972, the second of the two Dracula movies to take place in the modern world.

The film has a British Secret Service agency looking into a cult that practices dark rituals, of which they include the help of Professor Lorrimar Van Helsing (played by Peter Cushing). As they get closer into the matter they find that the cult has once again resurrected Dracula who plots to take over the world with a deadly virus. Leaving it up to Van Helsing and the agents to stop him.

This film was the last time Christopher Lee played the role of Dracula onscreen (if you don't count Frankenweenie which was more of a joke cameo. And the french comedy Dracula Père et Fils by Édouard Molinaro, filmed in 1976.)

The film has the following tropes:

  • Agent Mulder: Peter Torrence. Both he and Mathews pretty quickly believe Murray when Murray tells them they're dealing with a vampire.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: (Specifically, epidemiology:) Dracula wishes to unleash a world-wide, completely genocidal, plague organism evidently spread solely by physical contact…that disables its victims immediately and kills them within minutes. It would therefore have a much harder time spreading itself than one which produced no symptoms for, say, three to five days.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Really after seven movies, are you surprised anymore that Dracula come back again?
    • In-movie, there's a ritual where a woman is killed with a knife. Then revived using dark magic though of course no longer human.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Torrence and Murray hear Jessica's screams in the basement of the HQ and manage to get down there and shoot open the lock just moments before one of the vampire women pins down Jessica and attempts to bite her neck.
  • Black Magic
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When Van Helsing confronts Dracula the first time, he gets knocked out during a scuffle. Drac could've easily killed him and been done with it. But nope, instead he takes him to the county house, intending to infect him with the plague. Needless to say, Van Helsing gets free and leads to Drac's downfall.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Jane is kidnapped by the cult and locked in a bedroom at their hideout. She is terrified by Dracula's ominous, unseen approach, but when the door flies open and he enters the room she welcomes him to her bed.
  • Chained to a Rock: Jane, when found in the Cult's basement, is chained to a wall. It seemed like it was only temporary as, since she's a recent victim, they were waiting till they found a coffin for her. The rest of the vampire women are also chained near their coffins to prevent them from leaving the room though are given enough length to go after anyone unfortunate to wander down there.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When listing the ways vampires can be defeated, Lorrimar Van Helsing mentions that they are vulnerable to hawthorne, from which Christ's crown of thorns was made. Later on he uses this particular thing, unmentioned in any movie before this, to get the better of Dracula.
  • Cool Old Guy: Peter Torrence, who comes off vaguely as an older, less world-traveled James Bond.
  • Creator In-Joke: As an in-joke, Dracula's lair was named Pelham House, a reference to retiring James Carreras's house at Pelham Place in London.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jessica, Van Helsing's granddaughter and Drac's recent infatuation in this movie.
  • Dragon Lady: Chin Yang
  • Driven to Suicide: Van Helsing speculates that the reason Dracula wants to spread the plague, destroying humanity (and his food supply), is that he's tired of his undead existence and will use this method to destroy himself.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • You know the Lord of the Undead has fallen pretty low when he's defeated by a tree.
    • Also, Peter Torrence, who seems like a shoe-in to engage in the final battle, due to his special agent training. Instead, he's picked off by a sniper shortly after Mathews in the beginning of the third act.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Unlike the previous movies, Dracula has more lines here and has Christopher Lee's distinctive deep voice.
  • Genre Mashup: The film itself is a mixture of horror, science fiction and spy thriller.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Dracula is killed by these when he falls into a batch of them. As thorns are represented with Christ in religion, they're very effective against vampires.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dracula poses as a multi-millionaire who is never seen in public and never photographed. A 1970s audience would inevitably have been reminded of the eccentric and reclusive Howard Hughes.
  • The Plague: Basically how Drac wants to take over humanity using a man-made bubonic plague.
  • Religion of Evil: The cult that resurrects Dracula.
  • Rise from Your Grave: Jessica inadvertently awakes all the vampire women in the basement of the cult's HQ who each pop out of their coffins one by one.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The savvy Torrence ends up this after he's picked off by a sniper before the final confrontation.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Jessica, who's the same character from Dracula A.D. 1972 (mentally rather than physically).
  • Staking the Loved One: More like staking the employee but yeah, Murry and Torrence are forced to do this to Jane after she becomes a vampire.
  • Take Over the World: Drac's going full term with this one this time.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Jane when she's found chained in the basement by Jessica. She quickly tries to bite Jessica when she tries to free her and even helps push Jessica down so the other vampire women can get her.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The cult members who were just in it for power. They're horrified when they learn Drac's true plan but are hypnotized back into service.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Dracula as usual, seen seducing Jane after she's captured and turning her into his recent bride.
  • Vampire's Harem: As usual, Dracula has his vampire brides. Here they're locked in the cellar of his hideout and chained to their coffins (or in Jane's case, a wall). Chin Yang is also apparently part of his brides as well, but is trusted enough to monitor the house.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Water, carrying on from the last film, a whole room of vampire women are killed just from turning on the sprinkler in the basement.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jane tries this on her boss after they save Jessica from the vampire women. It isn't until Torrence is right next to Jane that Jessica finally warns them she isn't human anymore.