Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride!
I can't really say I've been a big afficianado of Christopher Lee's Dracula. I've seen several of them recently, and I have to confess he brings a certain different something to the mix. The first thing I noted about his movies is that he isn't really the star, it's the folks who are pitted against him who dominate the screen and Dracula appears sparingly to wreak havoc and whatnot.
The Satanic Rites of Dracula or as it was known in the U.S. Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride offers up a pretty good brew of what makes these Hammer flicks tick. This one set in the 20th century follows on the events of the previous movie Dracula 1972 A.D..
There are some spoilers below so tread carefully.
Dracula it seems didn't "die" after the last movie (shock) but survived yet again and became the mysterious director of an organization which has a headquarters on the site of the church where he was presumably killed. This company has lured in powerful men in government and the military by means of a seemingly Satanic cult. Some government security agency becomes aware of this and sends in an agent who is killed but who manages to report back. His superiors realize that the men involved are too powerful and influential to oppose openly so they enlist the aid of Dr.Van Helsing to guide them in matters supernatural. Dracula's role is uncovered and the ultimate battle is an interesting if curious one. I'll have to say that Dracula is trapped in the most original if contrived way.
Peter Cushing as Van Helsing is looking quite old in this one, but he and Lee as Dracula have some very good scenes together. The movie though seems to want to be an action flick and does so pretty well in places. The horror elements are minimal after the first section of the flick, though I will confess the basement full of vampire chicks was pretty heinous. The lighting undermines the effectiveness of these scenes, as the color is brighter than I expected. They seemed to want lurid more than creepy.
All in all this is a fun and diverting movie, better than I expected frankly.