English and American distributors differed on how to exploit this movie, the U.K. opting to emphasize Satanic Rites (above), the Americans Vampire Brides (below, caught in a romp with Joanna Lumley)
"My revenge spans centuries!" Dracula blusters as his house burns down. If so, he should have invested more resources into recruiting (and outfitting) quality personnel.
Lee was quite sick of Dracula but kept coming back for more, complaining to his fans all the while, until he was done with this one. At least here he gets a decent amount of dialogue compared to the growling and hissing written for him in previous episodes. On the other hand, he doesn't put in an appearance in a film in which he's the title character until about a half hour in, and then just for a perfunctory biting seen that has little to do with the main story. It seems to have been included just so viewers wouldn't feel ripped off by his not appearing for yet another half hour. By now, however, the public may have been sick of Lee as Dracula. This second attempt to set him in the modern world was the end of the experiment. The Americans didn't even want it until 1978, when they could exploit the anticipation of Frank Langella's Dracula film -- and even then they had to sell it with outrageous ballyhoo like "The King of the Undead marries the Queen of the Zombies!" I mean, that's not even real! Anyway, Hammer's next try was The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, once more a period piece with the added exotica of kung fu. Lee was invited to appear but finally found the will to refuse. Cushing's age also gives Rites the feel of a series that had finally run out of gas. You can see an effort at transition to a new generation of vampire-fighting heroes (including pre-AbFab Joanna Lumley), but Van Helsing's helpers don't have the great man's charisma.
The final battle between Lee as Dracula and Cushing as Van Helsing should be a major moment, but when people can turn vampires with crosses made out of just any old thing (as Michael Coles demonstrates below) it undercuts the drama a bit.
Here's the original British trailer, uploaded to YouTube by gotohelltown:
Meanwhile,Surfintheater has uploaded but regrettably left a mark on the wacky but spoilerific American trailer for "Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride."