Friday, October 8, 2010

October Movie Reviews: Dracula Prince of Darkness 1966

For my October Reviews I have another one from the Hammer Horror Collection.

This movie is a proper Dracula sequel since it features Christopher Lee as the Count; though he never speaks a line in it.  Unlike the Brides of Dracula before it, this one does not have Van Helsing.

Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966)

We are treated to a montage from Dracula (1958) of Van Helsing destroying the Count.  The movie starts proper with a funeral (in my memories all Hammer Films started like this) of a young girl who we soon learn is believed to be a vampire.  We are introduced to an Abbot or Monk (I was never sure of the difference) who claims she isn't and deserves a proper burial.
The scene changes to the Kents, two brothers and their wives, who are on holiday from London to travel.  Our Abbot meets up with them and invites to them to stay at his abbey and warns them to stay away from Carlsbad and the castle (which does not show up on their maps).
As fate would have it, they end up there due to a broken carriage wheel and are forced to take shelter.  They find the castle warm and inviting, with food laid out for four.  They meet the supposed sole inhabitant of the castle, Klove. He claims he is carrying out the final wishes of his master, Count Dracula.
They stay the night and one brother follows Klove to Dracula's tomb where he is killed and his blood is used to resurrect the dead ashes of the vampire.  Dracula goes after the brother's wife and vamps her.
The other brother wakes up to find his brother and wife gone.  He and his wife try to leave, only to be brought back to the castle by Klove.  Here Dracula and Helen attack.  The escape, only to be thrown in their stolen carriage and recued by the Abbot. 
The Abbot knows about vampires and claims that Dracula is their master and was killed 10 years ago (Dracula 1958).  While they rest, Dracula attacks Diana and takes her while Helen is left behind to be killed by the Abbot.
Charles and the Abbot ride to Dracula's castle where they manage to kill Klove on the way and rescue Diana.  Dracula is trapped on the ice surrounding his castle.  The Abbot shoots the ice cause Dracula to slip into the running water and "drown".

Ok. This is an odd one.  First there are no lines for Dracula.  That is no big really, he had few lines in the book too.  But Modern Dracula is a chatty guy-or rather we like our bad guys to be chatty.  Blame it on Bond I guess.
Of course this movie is really nothing more than a proto-80's slasher flick.  Replace Dracula with a psycho killer and the tourists with teens and you are set.  Of course instead of four we would need six and Drac would need to kill more, but the idea is the same.
There is no Van Helsing here which is not that big of a deal really.
This is one of the first Dracula "resurrection" movies.  No ceremony, just pour blood into vampire ashes and mix well.  It's simple and it works.  The effects for Dracula's return are great for the time and I am sure they were quite proud of how it turned out.

The movie is not bad as far as plot goes. The action is slow at times, but that is more due to the time in which is was filmed.

I can't recall if I have ever seen this one or not.  Some of the older Hammer films all blurred into one in time, and it has been 25-30 years since I have seen some of these.  I didn't recall anything specific about this one, so it is likely it was new to me.

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