REVIEW OF DARK SKY FILMS JESS FRANCO'S COUNT DRACULA SPECIAL EDITION
A recent viewing of the excellent Casanegra Ent. release the Black Pit of Dr. M. made me realize I had quite a few Spanish horror film s that I had acquired unseen because of their reputation or that I had seen many times and just plain loved. So when this fell into my lap over a month away from its official release I knew I had to cover it. I don't know much about Jess Franco. He's associated with some fairly sleazy very low budget horror fare and some stuff, like this, considered must viewing. So while I didn't get my hopes up
I was very excited at the chance to see Christopher Lee play Count Dracula in a non-Hammer context. In the end I was quite surprised. Jess Franco's Count Dracula Special Edition is a fine, and quite faithful addition to the canon.
Lee presents an older more mature Count here and adapts his performance perfectly to the rather theatrical tone of the film. Franco has a great eye for atmosphere and keeps the story moving along. Of course the presence of Herbert Lom as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinksi as Renfield represents some of the best casting for any Dracula film ever.
For a film whose importance is primarily historical it seems a major gaffe not have a commentary but other supplemental features, such as the featurette on Franco and the essay by actress Soledad Miranda help makeup for it. In addition Christopher Lee reads Bram Stoker's Dracula which is worth the price of DVD all by itself. This is the first time the film has been made available on DVD and it's not unthinkable another version could be released at a later time but this is a fine edition, with a beautiful transfer and a great performance by arguably the greatest interpreter of the Dracula role.