Lake of Dracula (1971) Review



An above-average vampire flick with a cool vampire, a masterfully done creepy old house and enough character and story to elevate it.

Plot: A young woman remembers an encounter with a vampire from childhood while a mysterious coffin is delivered to the seaside town she lives in.

Review: The second of the Bloodthirsty trilogy, I don’t think this movie got the fanfare that The Vampire Doll did. This is a shame because I found this film to be a little better than the first one in the trilogy. Part of that may be that the vampire in this one has the actual fangs and just looks like a bloodsucker. Another is the story and characters in this one are more engaging.

Let’s start with the vampire. Even though the name ‘Dracula’ is in the title, this vampire is not Dracula. There’s a cool backstory to him, one that I can’t recall seeing in any other vampire movie. He just looks incredible, with the golden eyes and fangs. He cuts an imposing figure and looks sinister as all hell. I can’t think of a better vampire being cast for this film. At one point, he slams through a stained-glass window in pursuit of a victim, and I actually gasped. The vampire makes these types of movies, and this one was top-notch.

The story itself wasn’t too bad. I’ve read that some reviewers call it generic and don’t see it. Generic would have been if all the characters were friends and got along and got picked off one by one. In this film, there’s some animosity and, dare I say, outright hatred between a few of the characters. While the jealousy and conflict doesn’t rise to the surface during the day, when a few of the characters are turned, it comes out in full form. This adds another layer to what would otherwise be another “vampire finds characters, kills them and turns them into vampires, while main character wrings hands.”

It’s because of this extra spark to the story that I found the characters more engaging. There’s more at stake than a general “we have to stop the bad guy” thing. It’s more meaningful, and when some characters get turned, it feels more like a loss. I found myself rooting for at least one character not to get turned, which NEVER happens in a vampire movie. So yeah, this one got me a little bit.

As for gore, there was some blood, though almost all of the blood-letting took place off-screen. For animal lovers, you’ll despair as a pooch bites the dust, and you see the aftermath, which isn’t very pleasant. The makeup is of the usual powder-white variety to show death, which doesn’t offer much imagination, but it’s wonderfully effective on the vampire, even if it doesn’t seem to touch anything but his face. The vampire’s death makeup is grotesque and well-done.

The sets are non-descript except for the vampire’s lair, which is creepy as all hell. The director must have been proud of it, too, as he lovingly shows much of the details of the house as the title credits play. It puts you into the mood quickly and is undoubtedly one of the most memorable vampire sets I’ve ever seen. The music is what you would expect from this type of movie and adds to the atmosphere, though isn’t particularly noteworthy.

Lake of Dracula is worth a watch, especially if you’re into creepy, interesting vampire stories. There’s enough here, and the runtime (81 minutes) is short enough that you’ll find enough to like without getting bored.