Going to bat...
The films in Hammer’s Dracula series never prominently featured a bat, a concept rather popularized by Universal’s earlier renditions. It therefore comes as a great surprise having Dracula, played once more by Christopher Lee, being revived by a bat; a new minion of his. He gets his own version of "Igor", homage to Frankenstein, in his re-written servant returning from Dracula: Prince of Darkness.
You can only bring back a serial vampire so many times before more drastic measures must be taken to dispatch him. A small war establishes itself early on between the villagers and the count. This results in a level of gore unattempted until now. Big effort was invested in matte painting, make-up and practical effects. Comedy, action, nudity and sensuality are cranked up a notch, too.
The performances are full of life and provided by a cunning collection of actors. The camera gets frantic in moments of tensions. The picture is as clean and well lit as it’s ever been in the franchise. The great Gothic set design is a treat, as usual. The second act is dialogue heavy; the first and third atmospheric and grandiose, as Hammer Film tradition dictates.