Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)

Director: Freddie Francis

Starring: Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing, Barry Andrews

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: You just can't keep a good man down!

Plot: When his castle is exorcised, Dracula plots his revenge against the Monsignor who performed the rites by attempting to make the holy man's young niece his bride.

My Rating: 8/10

Would I watch it again? Hell, yeah!

#36 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)


DHRftG opens with an alter boy cleaning up in the church. He pulls the rope for the bell (you know, to make a shitload of racket for the entire town because that's the sort of crap that people like to hear? UGH) and blood drips from the ceiling onto his hands.

The priest shows up and takes to the stairs to investigate...
Suddenly...a fresh dead woman drops from the bell! YES!

Nice, huh? Yeah, I thought so, too. Cool way to start off the best of the Dracula sequels so far.

There's a great scene where Dracula has just been awaken (it's always cool how they find ways to bring him back from the "dead") and when he arrives at his castle he discovers a giant cross pinned into the doors which was placed there when a priest exorcised the castle. Naturally, this won't do so D forces another priest, his new helper, to explain.

Dracula: Who did this?
Priest: The Monsignor.

It's ON now!

Here's something you don't see everyday, a young man, Paul, goes to Maria's, his sweetie, house to meet her family over a nice dinner. It turns out pops is a/the monsignor and Paul is an atheist (they just HAVE to imply that it's because he's a college student!). The monsignor exclaims he holds honesty in high regard and that he has no respect for those who say what others want them to say instead of speaking their true feelings. So Paul comes out as an atheist after continually pressed by pops about where his beliefs are.

Here's the monsignor before he knows...

And here he is after Barry's confession.

Fucking hypocrite! It was really neat, though, seeing an atheist portrayed intelligently in a film. But wait! Don't get too cozy with the idea...he can't get off scott free now can he? At the end of the picture, after Barry has killed Dracula, he does that catholic cross deal, the ole spectacles, testicles, watch & wallet routine. Apparently seeing what a cross can do to the Prince of Darkness is all it takes to believe. Bonehead.

Hellloooooo there

There's a nice scene when Dracula pays a nocturnal visit to Maria to give her the fang-fang. She's lying helpless in the bed, all excited like, and Dracula slowly caresses her face with his lips for a few seconds before taking the commitment to drain her of her bodily fluids. It doesn't last long but it's very sensuously handled. I didn't expect that in something like this.

Notice the red on the edges of the screen? It's a nice, albeit odd, touch.

And, as always with these Hammer Dracula pictures, the ending is great with a cool death for Dracula. Remember that cross from the exorcism at Dracula's castle? He gets impaled on it. AWESOME!!! All of this over James Bernard's top-notch score and just before the slow-moving credits. It all plays out as if we're sad that D's snuffed it and that we're being reverential about the ordeal. Nevertheless, this is probably my favorite of his Dracula scores so far. Outstanding.

Great stuff all the way around. I've said it many times already and I'll continue to say that the Hammer studio Gothic horror films are great fun, creating a palpable atmosphere that will continually bring me back again and again.

Here's the list of the Hammer Dracula films:

Horror of Dracula (1958)
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)
Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula AD 1972 (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

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