Although Taste the Blood of Dracula was not as financially successful as Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, it did well enough to warrant yet another sequel. The Scars of Dracula was produced in 1970, again by Aida Young, who had produced the previous two. This time, Roy Ward Baker, who had just helmed The Vampire Lovers, was brought in to direct. The result was one of Hammer's goriest and wildest Gothics.
Although Scars doesn't have the rich subtext of the previous series entries, it's a fun 'Penny Dreadful,' a no-apologies blood and thunder movie with a lurid 'charnel house charm.' This time, the blonde was played by pretty Jenny Hanley, who had been featured in small roles in Peter Hunt's great Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) and Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). In an interview in 'Little Shoppe of Horrors, Hanley recalled, "In 1970, I got my part in Scars of Dracula. It was, and Christopher Lee was, great fun. It was done in precisely three weeks. It was darned hard work. But we all knew our parts. We were all locked in. It was, I think, quite successful. I was, however, completely dubbed throughout, which hardly anybody knows, because my voice was considered too low and too grown up for a sweet young thing. Some dreadful female's voice has been put over me, which I find excruciatingly embarrassing. What's even worse, she wasn't even given a credit, so nobody knows that it wasn't me.'
Hanley isn't given a great deal to do as 'Sarah,' besides run around and keep one step ahead of Dracula, but she does it very well and looks terrific into the bargain. The more 'full-blooded' role is, of course, the brunette, who this time is a bride of Dracula from the word go and played by Anouska Hempel, whose first film appearance had been in Don Sharp's excellent The Kiss of the Vampire (1963). She had also appeared, along with a lot of other up and coming actresses, with Hanley in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Her un-named character in Scars seems to be a direct descendant of Valerie Gaunt's vampire woman in the 1958 Dracula. She even has some of the same dialogue, mooning about how Dracula keeps her a prisoner in the castle. In fact, the totally unoriginal script is a pastiche of the first two Hammer Draculas, with John Elder (Anthony Hinds) pulling out a few more stops in the sex and violence department, as censorship around the world was falling by the wayside during this period. And so, instead of another 'library scene,' we have a bedroom scene in which Hempel gets together with Paul (the third time in a row the hero was named Paul - Hinds told me it was easy to type!), as played by Christopher Matthews, where she attempts to bite him as they roll about in bed. As if on cue, Dracula bursts into the room and, instead of merely throwing her about the room as he had in the other films, he stabs her to death.
Hempel doesn't have a lot of time to make an impression, but she certainly has the curves to fill the role (and her diaphanous nightgown). The accent on sex runs throughout the film; when we first see Paul, he is in bed with another buxom brunette played by Delia Lindsay, all of whom's lines are groaners: 'Was it good, darling? Was it the best ever?' She has a good sense of humor, as evidenced by an interview she did with Tim Greaves for 'Little Shoppe of Horrors.' She seemed quite honored to have done a Hammer film: '…It's part of every girl's education to do at least one Hammer. Because I think they're a very important tradition. I really do, I think they have great skill and artistry in their making. My only regret is that I didn't get to be fanged!'