Reviews May Contain Minor Spoilers

If you're reading a review you should expect to hear some spoilers. I try to keep them to a minimum though.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Dracula Continues - Hammer Horror -

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) continues Dracula's story.

Four people get kicked off their stage coach because he won't go near Dracula's Castle. They end up taking shelter in Dracula's castle. His servant offers them a hot meal and a place to stay. During the night the servant lures one of them out and uses his blood to resurrect Dracula.

A boring film with unlikable stupid characters. I really could not find anything to like about this movie that wasn't held over from a previous movie.

Our Priest
Father Sandor is a combination of every male character from the original. He knows how to kill vampires, he helps crazy people and he's firm  in his beliefs. The strange thing is that he's not in this very much and he makes some stupid mistakes. For instance after he explains how Dracula can't get in we cut to the prisoner he has who he know is clearly under Dracula's influence... So, with him as out most interesting character, we're so doomed.

Uninteresting Others
Four annoying Brits get lost and end up in Dracula's castle. There's the annoying stuck-up one, the screechy prophetic one, and those other two who are there to die and be captured respectively. I didn't care about any of them. They do a lot of talking, but we don't manage to learn anything other than three of them like to travel and one doesn't.

Silent Foe
Dracula doesn't speak in this. Either the scrip writer didn't write any lines or Christopher Lee thought the lines were so bad he refused to speak them. Personally, there are some moments that Dracula seems have had a line removed, so I'm going to go with Chris Lee. Also, I think he knew how bad this movie was and he was obligated to star in it. I wouldn't have any words either.

Same Atmosphere
It has most of the same sets as "Horror." So, they were pretty again.

In the End
So, we get to see the awesome end of "Horror" in the opening. Then they give us an interesting, but badly executed Dracula death scene. Dracula looks like a slow idiot and it was a boring end to a boring movie.

A bad rehash of the first film. Boring. Painfully so. Skip it.

Dracula has Risen from the Grave (1968) is a more interesting sequel.

A local parish is desecrated by Dracula leaving a body in their bell and now no one wants to go to mass. After a year, the local Monsignor comes around and finds out. He takes the local priest up to the castle to purify it. The local priest gets tired halfway there and stops. After the purification a storm whips up and scares the local priest into falling off a cliff onto an ice block containing Dracula. The priest's blood drips into a crack and Dracula lives again. When the Monsignor returns home he finds his niece wants to marry an atheist baker and he can't allow that.

A ridiculously complicated plot, but it does have its small payoffs. There are themes of redemption and finding faith in the face of evil. While I don't like how atheism is treated as a plot point, it is at least something interesting. How faith affects dealing with Dracula.

Our Priests
The Local Priest isn't given a name, but he suffers as Dracula's pawn. His faith isn't as strong as the Monsignor and he struggles with that. His struggle was a nice addition to this.

The Monsignor is strong in faith, but becoming weak in body.  He is forceful and unafraid to stand up to what he thinks is right. He struggles with his own convictions in regard to whom his niece will marry.

Romantic Youth
Maria Muller is the Monsignor's niece. She plays the damsel in distress and ends up being used like a plot device like all the other women we've looked at in Dracula movies.

Paul is an atheist with his eye on the Monsignor's niece. He has trouble with his station and wants to move up in the world. He is enjoyable if a bit on the dumb side (though he looks like a genius compared to characters in the previous film).

Fierce Foe
Dracula is back in full force as a manipulative master. He apparenly considers locking him out of his castle to be more offensive than killing him since he decides he must have his revenge on the Monsignor.

Some bad stock footage is used for the town and sunrise effects. It is a painfully obvious drop inquality when compared to the sets. The rest of the sets look fine including an interesting series of roofs where some action takes place.

In the End
While not as good as the series' first Dracula death, it has some interesting religious overtones and comletes a lot of the themes nicely. I honestly would have liked this as the final end before the reboots, but there is one more.

Much better than the one before or after it. It isn't great, but it is interesting and not bad. I'd recomend it to fans of Christopher Lee and Dracula.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) is a weak nonsensical conclusion to the initial Dracula line.

A merchant comes upon Dracula as he is dying from the last movie. The merchant gathers Dracula's ashes, cloak and ring and takes them to London. In London Mr. Hargood does not want his daughter to see Paul Paxton, but refuses to say why. The truth is that he, Paul's father and another gentleman are in a secret hedonistic club. The club goes to a brothel where they meet a disgraced lord's son. He tells them he can give them the ultimate thrill through his lord, Count Dracula.

This story cannot decide on a main character. We start with the merchant then move to the adulterous fools with occasional jumps to the young lovers. I felt like I was watching a supernatural murder mystery that just happened to have a very weak version of Dracula in it.

Romantic Youth
Paul Paxton is a local youth who's in love with Alice. He tries to convince her to run away with him, but she refuses.

Alice Hargood is the daughter of William and is trying to break free from her spirit, but doesn't have the will. I was expecting her to be our main character and the movie would have been better off with her being more strong willed. However; we can;t have a strong woman, so she spends half the movie murdering people as Dracula's pawn.

Adulterous Others
The hedonist club consists of William Hargood, Samuel Paxton, and Jonathan Secker. William is the alcoholic mean spirited one. Samuel is the weak spirited one. Jonathan just seems to be along for the ride. None of them are likeable or interesting. I don't think any of them do anything that makes sense.

Manipulative Foe
Dracula wants to take revenge for the death of his servant... again. Given how Dracula kills most of his servants and sweeps them aside after they're vampires, I don't see why this guy mattered. It is like the last one except Dracula has even less reason to hate these people. Christopher Lee does his best with what he's given, but...

Nice, I suppose. Nothing really stood out as spectacular.

In the End
They couldn't beat the deaths at the end of "Horror" and "Brides" so they decided to just keep making his deaths more silly and weak. This one is so bad I don't care about it. Spoilers: He dies from a prayer... Paul says a prayer, Dracula realizes he's in a church, Dracula falls on an altar and dies. Screw you too movie.

It's like a bad remake of "Risen from the Grave.". Nothing of intelligence happens. None of the characters are interesting. Don't see this one. It is pathetic.

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