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The Funkiest Hammer film – Dracula AD 1972

1970s, Film • 20033 Views • Comments Off on The Funkiest Hammer film – Dracula AD 1972

Dracula 1972 AD may not have been the best Hammer film ever made. However, when you’ve got actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, singer Marsha Hunt with a full on afro, American funk rockers Stoneground and ex Manfred Mann guitarist Mike Vickers on board – it’s definitely the grooviest.

It’s the year 1872, Dracula and Van Helsing are battling on top of a runaway stagecoach. The coach crashes and the Count is impaled on the broken coach wheel. Cue chocolate biscuit pun – Man Killed By Wagon Wheel. A plane flies into the shot of the sky and a Blaxploitation style theme tune kicks in. We are now in Seventies London.

The composer of the the films funky theme tune was ex-Manfred Mann member Mike Vickers. He played guitar, flute and saxophone in the band before quiting in 1965. On June 27th 1967 he conducted the orchestra who played with the Beatles when they performed “All you need is love” to a 400 million worldwide TV audience. Vickers also wrote the instrumental On the brink, a Northern soul and Mod favourite. The soundtrack to the film wasn’t released at the time and only saw the light of day when it was finally released on CD in 2009.

The film is set in the still swinging Kings road area of London. The young, hip and trendy gang who feature in the film hang out in a groovy coffee bar called The Cavern, this was an Italian restaurant called La Bersagliera at 372 Kings Road. Dracula Author Bram Stoker also lived in the same area of Chelsea in 1882.

The plot of the film is the usual Dracula story. Dracula rises from the grave, Dracula gets a sidekick, Dracula bites a few necks, Dracula gets staked by Van Helsing,The End. Christopher Lee puts in his usual fine performance as the Count, as does the legendary Peter Cushing as Van. A young Stephanie Beacham plays Helsings daughter Jessica.The Count has an accomplice called Alucard, see what they did there? He’s also in the gang along with Laura Bellows, who’s played by former model Caroline Munro. Regrettably Laura later becomes the Count’s first meal.

The Faces were originally lined up to appear in the party scene of the film, but were replaced by American band Stoneground. The singer in the the ten piece band was former Beau Brummels vocalist Sal Valentino. The band perform two tracks “Alligator man” and “You better come through” before the Police break up the party. At this point the film almost turns into “Carry on Dracula”.Three members of Stoneground went on to form the more successful pop group Pablo Cruise

Also in the film is singer Marsha Hunt with her trademark afro. Actually, her own tune (oh no! not) the beast day wouldn’t of been out of place on the films funky soundtrack, both in style and song title. Marsha was previously a member of the band Ferris Wheel, but became famous when she appeared in the musical Hair playing Dionne. Unfortunately Marsha’s character Gaynor doesn’t last long as she becomes Dracula’s second liquid lunch.

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