Above and beyond the best of them all,
Christopher Lee is Dracula, and Peter Cushing plays Dr. Van Helsing who
forces the vampire into the sunlight by forming
a crucifix from two candle holders.
grisly meltdown scene was censored in
the U.S. version, jump-cutting from the
slightly sunburnt vampire to a silly fake
skull. I’ve seen the gory in-between
photos of Dracula’s skin peeling
to down to the bone in Famous Monsters
I demanded the Collector’s
Edition and I found it!
- Dracula, Prince
Hammer Films tried for eight years to
coax the actor back into the titular role
and this is what it got him.
A village idiot mixes blood with the
vampire’s ashes from the last film.
Dracula arises, killing him and others.
Big ending. He falls through the ice and
into the river. The filmmakers claim that
running water paralyses Dracula. Methinks the writers were paralyzed.
- Dracula has Arisen
from the Grave
A village idiot falls off his wagon,
rolls down the embankment, and knocks
his head on the frozen river, his blood
conveniently dripping through a crack
in ice, and Dracula arises, killing him
and others. In the end, Dracula is impaled
on the broken spoke of a wagon wheel, and
the vampire melts into preternatural goo.
There was much debate at Cannes whether
this climactic wagon wheel was the same
wagon wheel that had broken off the wagon
depicted at the beginning of the film.
- Taste the Blood
Village idiots decide it is a good idea
to drink from a tiny bottle containing
the preternatural goo from the last film.
Dracula arises, killing them and others
while uttering the memorable lines, “The
first... the second... the third...”
Yes indeed. Dialogue like that almost
writes itself. In the end, Dracula plummets
onto a gravestone in the shape of a cross,
impaling him from the backside through
to the frontside, and he melts into preternatural
goo once again.
Studying a sample of the preternatural
goo from the last film, a mad scientist
decides he can control Dracula if he resurrects
him under scientific conditions. He is
wrong. Dracula arises, killing him and
others. In the film’s climax, Dracula
transforms into a bat to escape the dawn,
but fails. He bursts into flame and his
ashes blow to the four winds. A difficult
resurrection scenario methinks.
Hammer made another dozen or so Dracula films, sometimes resorting to using footage from the older films when Mr. Lee refused to appear in them.
I heard they had gone back
to the Bram Stoker novel and made a
serious adaptation. (Klaus Kinski gets top billing? Outrageous.)
I have seen none of these later films.
But the first five were bloody good fun at the matinee.