Restored Ending of Horror of Dracula.

1958 - Horror of Dracula

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.

The 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 of Filmland.

I demanded the Collector’s Edition and I found it!

1966 - Dracula, Prince of Darkness

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.

1968 - 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.

1970 - Taste the Blood of Dracula

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.

1971 - Scars of Dracula

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.

1972 and beyond...

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.

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