Well, this is my favorite time of the year. The Fall. And with the Fall comes my craving for Hammer Horror. For some reason i really get in the mood this time of the year for Hammer. And so its with that, that i bring to you my quick non informitive reveiws of the first three entries in Hammers Dracula film series.
In the 50's, Horror Of Dracula along with the Curse Of Frankenstein kicked off Hammer's reinvention of the classic Universal monsters. And Hammer did it better. Having not veiwed this film in a long time, i found The Horror Of Dracula to not be as engaging as i originally thought. Maybe its because ive seen this story adapted too many times to count. None the less its still a great Horror film. This is a bare bones telling of the Stoker story and thank god for that. Allowing Hammer to put their own signature touch on the timeless tale. This film moves fast and never bores. Peter Cushing is in my opinion the ultimate Van Helsing. Lee is good as Dracula in this, but really he had yet to own the character. Even though i find Universals Dracula film just O.K. Lugosi owned the character bringing more to Dracula than Lee does here. Its in the sequels were we find the ultimate Lee-Dracula incarnations in my opinion. But still his presense in the film is still very awsome!
In many ways Bride Of Dracula is a superior film to Horror of Dracula. Cushings Van Helsing is more swashbuckling and director Terrence Fisher pours on the eerie atmosphere thicker. The dialogue is a riot at times and the supporting cast of semi-Hammer regulars are great. Yvonne Monlaur in particular. She is absolutly gorgeous and captured the innocents of her character perfectly. David Peel as the gay (!?) vampire Baron was refreshing from the snarling and hissing vampire that usually occupies these films. Unfortunatly Christopher Lee is absent from this film, in fact Dracula isnt even in it. But i think Peels vampire is great! Although ive seen pratically all these Hammer films at one time or another through out my life, Brides Of Dracula had escaped me and after years of putting it off Iam now glad to say this film is incredible....bat on a wire not included.
Christopher Lee returns as the Count in the direct sequel to Horror Of Dracula, even though this is the third film in the series. Dracula- Prince Of Darkness is a darker-creepier horror film than the previous two. Christopher Lee's performance is more beastly and animalistic than his take on the character in Horror and he has no dialogue. And he's scary! As always the sets and exterior shots are magnificent. And the always incredible talent of Terrence Fisher directs another fast, brutal and elegant film.