4k Movie, Streaming, Blu-Ray Disc, and Home Theater Product Reviews & News | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $54.67 Last Price: $69.95 Buy now! 3rd Party 48.51 In Stock
Release Date: November 28th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1970

Count Dracula (1970) - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Horror legend Sir Christopher Lee appeared many times as Count Dracula throughout his career, though it was Jess Franco’s Count Dracula he praised for having a version of the count that’s closest to Bram Stoker’s original story. Those Uncle Jess aficionados at Severin films have upgraded Count Dracula to 4K Ultra HD with a four-disc (4K, 2 BDs & CD) release that pulls out all the stops for Franco’s classic horror film. Boasting a stunning HDR10-supported 2160p presentation from brand new 4K restoration and offering a slew of archival and newly produced supplements, this release comes Highly Recommended!

In early 2023, a Madrid film archivist made a startling discovery: the uncut camera negative of COUNT DRACULA, in pristine condition and untouched for over 50 years. This gothic masterpiece from writer/director Jess Franco can now be experienced like never before, from its brilliant performances by Christopher Lee as the Count, Herbert Lom as Van Helsing, Soledad Miranda as Lucy, Maria Rohm as Mina and Klaus Kinski as Renfield to its sumptuously unnerving cinematography and eerie Bruno Nicolai score. COUNT DRACULA is newly scanned in 4K with over five total hours of Special Features, including the U.S. Premiere of Carles Prats' 2017 documentary DRÁCULA BARCELONA, which chronicles the simultaneous filming of CUADECUC VAMPIR by Pere Portabella and Franco's horror classic.

Special Features and Technical Specs: DISC ONE: 4K BLU-RAY (Feature + Special Features)

  • HDR 10 PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • English and Spanish audio tracks
  • Audio Commentary With Horror Historian David Del Valle And Actress Maria Rohm
  • Trailer

DISC TWO: BLU-RAY (Feature + Special Features)

  • Audio Commentary With Horror Historian David Del Valle And Actress Maria Rohm
  • Illustrated 1973 Christopher Lee Audio Interview With Filmmaker Donald Glut
  • Beloved Count – Interview With Director Jess Franco
  • Handsome Harker – Interview With Actor Fred Williams
  • An Interview With Actor Jack Taylor
  • Stake Holders – An Appreciation By Filmmaker Christophe Gans
  • Trailer

DISC THREE: Blu-ray (Special Features)

  • DRÁCULA BARCELONA – 2017 Documentary (90 mins)
  • Jess Franco's BRAM STOKER'S COUNT DRACULA – Stephen Thrower On COUNT DRACULA
  • In The Land Of Franco Bonus Sequence With Alain Petit And Stephen Thrower
  • Alternate Title Sequences
  • DISC FOUR - ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK ON CD
  • REGION-FREE 4K BLU-RAY AND BLU-RAY

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + CD
Video Resolution/Codec:
HDR 10 PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.37:1
Release Date:
November 28th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Of all the sleazy, transgressive works of Jess Franco, you’ll be surprised to hear that his adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a rather stately and classical affair. That’s not to say it removes all the erotic terror inherent in the original novel, but Franco is working in a bit of a different mode here. The B-movie budget and scale are still there, though it makes great use of beautiful gothic locations and has terrific performances from everyone in the cast. Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum famously derided Count Dracula as being “one of the world’s worst horror films.” He may be right from one view, yet wrong from another. Count Dracula was an incredible response to the chillers being made in the US, and it was distributed and accepted in the States as if it was one of those US-produced chillers.

Count Dracula follows Van Helsing (Herbert Lom), Jonathan Harker (Fred Williams), and Quincey Morris (Jack Taylor) as they pursue the titular count (Christopher Lee) through London and Transylvania. Renfield (Klaus Kinski) is there, as are Dracula’s blood-sucking wives (Emma Cohen, Soledad Miranda). Will the trio of Eurotrash stars be able to snuff out the vampiric evil once and for all? Or will they be seduced by the blood riches that Dracula offers to all who submit?

Christopher Lee famously said that Jess Franco gave him the opportunity to be the Dracula he always wanted to be, adhering to the source material as faithfully as possible. Thus, there’s a ton of scenes that are carried away by Lee. Without his keyed-in performance, the film doesn’t work. And as with many other Franco productions, we owe the gorgeous locations and Franco’s gazing camera a great deal for the success of the film. That isn’t to say that Count Dracula actually adheres to the source successfully. Hell, the film is a perfect example of filmmakers setting out to adapt and realizing just how impossible it is, so they focus on putting scenes on celluloid that haven’t been attempted before. 

As with many other Jess Franco films, Count Dracula has incredible sequences of horror and surrealism smacked between these janky, whacky scenes of low-budget ambiguity. A lot of day-for-night sequences of Dracula poisoning the land with his influence, making the woodland animals scurry and local women start to feel sexual fervor. Whether it works for you or not will depend on the performances, as the actual incidents aren’t far away from the usual Franco fare.

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-rays
Count Dracula haunts your home entertainment collection with a four-disc release that offers a BD66 for the 4K feature film, a BD50 for the standard feature and supplements, another BD50 for extra special features and a CD of the soundtrack. These discs come housed in a thicker-than-normal 4K amaray case with an embossed slipcover over it. All three Blu-ray discs boot up to standard menu screens with options to play the film, set up audio, explore bonus feature and select chapters. 

Video Review

Ranking:

The original camera negative of Count Dracula was discovered untouched and in pristine condition by a Madrid film archivist. For anyone who owned the 2015 Blu-ray of the film from Severin, then you know the transfer there was good despite being from a middling master. That’s why I’m noting here that this new HDR10-supported 2160p transfer is leaps and bounds better than all presentations preceding it. Detail is top-notch and immediately noticeable, with that thick film grain much better resolved and showing off the gorgeous gothic locations that they use in the film. Interiors look so much better, with black levels that milk the most out of the source. The big winner here, though, is the color grade. Franco was able to be stately, although not luscious in ways that his peers were able to accomplish with bigger budgets. But what we’re treated to here is vivid, pastel-filled beauty against barely adorned gothic sets. 

Plus, Severin has fixed some day-for-night shots in the film, resulting in a much truer representation of what the film looked like in theaters. The HDR10 grade pulls the most out of the source without blowing out highlights, and the bitrate is constantly high when needed. Franco’s low-budget aesthetic is still present and respected, but boy does the HDR make his visual choices look better than they probably should. Uncle Jess fans rejoice, as this is a truly perfect presentation from Severin. Bravo!

Audio Review

Ranking:

Count Dracula comes with both English and Spanish mono tracks in the DTS-HD MA codec. Both tracks sound much better than the 2015 Blu-ray release from Severin, with slightly distorted music cues and thin dubbing resolved completely. Source seems to be in good condition for both tracks, as this is a much cleaner and reliable presentation than the 2015 release. Hiss is minimal even given the low-budget and post-sync nature of the dub tracks.

Special Features

Ranking:

Severin has packed this release with supplements to dig your fangs into. They’ve carried over all the archival features from their 2015 Blu-ray release and have added even more bone-chilling supplements to enjoy, including a brand-new interview with Stephen Thrower reflecting on Count Dracula. Thrower has long been a secret weapon of deep historical knowledge when it comes to Franco’s career, and this interview is no different. Hell, Thrower actually has more context around the production than what Christopher Lee exhibits in his audio interview on disc 2. On top of all that, an English trailer is included on the 4K disc in HD and DRÁCULA BARCELONA, a documentary on the making of the film, is included as well. You’ll find hours of Uncle Jess footage to enjoy here courtesy of Severin.

Disc 1: 4K UHD Feature & Supplements 

  • Audio commentary with horror historian David Del Valle and actress Maria Rohm
  • Trailer (HD 3:19)

Disc 2: Blu-ray Feature & Supplements

  • Audio commentary with horror historian David Del Valle and actress Maria Rohm
  • Illustrated 1973 Christopher Lee audio interview with filmmaker Donald Glut (HD 19:50)
  • Beloved Count – Interview with Jess Franco (SD 26:24)
  • Handsome Harker – Interview with Fred Williams (HD 26:14)
  • Interview with Jack Taylor (SD 10:00)
  • Stake Holders – An appreciation by filmmaker Christophe Gans (HD 7:32)
  • Trailer (HD 3:19)

Disc 3: Special Features Blu-ray

  • DRÁCULA BARCELONA – 2017 documentary (HD 90:24)
  • Jess Franco’s Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula – Stephen Thrower on Count Dracula (HD 45:21)
  • In the Land of Franco bonus sequence with Alain Petit and Stephen Thrower (HD 6:07)
  • Alternate title sequences in Spanish, German, French and Italian

Soundtrack CD

Final Thoughts

Jess Franco’s Count Dracula may not be the sleazehound’s greatest work, though it certainly makes a terrific case of the resourcefulness of the famed Spanish filmmaker. Severin Films brings this stately chiller to 4K Ultra HD with a stunning new 4K presentation sourced from the newly discovered original camera negative, plus they’ve added a truly exhaustive list of supplements to enjoy. You should pick this Highly Recommended release up before the count sinks his fangs in! Highly Recommended

Order your copy of Count Dracula on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray