One the better Hammer productions starring Cushing and Lee that's a pleasure to sit through.The Satanic Rites of Dracula is the kind of breezy entertainment that doesn't linger in your memory much but affords the viewer a good amount of pleasure while watching it. It opens with a terrified man roped and bound while forced to watch a bizarre ritual involving a human sacrifice -- a naked blonde woman, to be exact -- who winds up on the receiving end of a just-slit rooster's blood, a knife fatally stabbed through her, and then a resurrection where her wound is healed and so is she. The already-beaten man manages to escape and make it back to British Intelligence, where he dies soon thereafter, but not before relaying to his superiors all that he witnessed. Lacking in expertise on a matter such as this, Intelligence consults an expert on the occult: Prof. Van Helsing (played by Peter Cushing). From here, Van Helsing and the investigators must battle none other than a conglomerate-owning Dracula (Christopher Lee) and his two motorcycle-riding, sharpshooter assassins. As a whole, the film isn't particularly well-written nor eerily atmospheric, but the execution of the bare-bones story is blessed with tact and canny camerabatics by director Alan Gibson, whose handling is so assured you can forgive the film for being absent of any real scares. In fact, the film functions more like a thriller than something of the Horror genre, which may test the patience of the die-hard Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees variety but is rewarding to those willing to forsake gallons of blood for plain old suspense once in a while. The Satanic Rites of Dracula doesn't have the taut pacing and silkily spooky texture of another Christopher Lee-starring film, 1960's Horror Hotel, and sometimes it takes way-out-there liberties with the Dracula legend like in having non-holy water do just as detrimental things to the vampires as only holy water is supposed to, yet these are mere incidentals in light of the enjoyable rewards the film is teeming with. It may not look like much at first sight, but it gets better and better as it goes along; plus, it affords us those old pros Cushing and Lee squaring off in a battle for the survival of mankind and looking like they're having the time of their lives to the point where their joie de vivre easily spreads onto the audience.Oh, it's not a classic or anything, but it manages to do a lot of things right.