Saturday, May 22, 2010

You just can't keep a bad vampire down....

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968)
Starring: Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Christopher Lee, Ewan Hooper, and Barry Andrews
Director: Freddie Francis
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

After a craven, cowardly priest (Hooper) accidentally revives Dracula (Lee) from an icy grave in a shadowy crevice of a Transylvanian mountain, the vampire lord discovers his castle has been sealed with blessings and cruxifixes. Swearing revenge, he pursues the Monsignor who made his home inaccessible to him (Davies).

Although it's a direct sequel to "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave" pays little attention to continuity. (Castle Dracula is a fortress in this movie, where it was more of a chateau in the two previous films.)

That aside, however, the film presents a Dracula who is far more evil than he's been portrayed before, cramming more nasty needs into the limited amount of time he is afforded into the story into this one movie than in the previous two. The opening of the film where a murdered girl is found stuffed inside a church's bell is one of the more shocking openers to any of Hammer's horror films. Dracula's pursuit of Monsignor Mueller and his family--particularly of the lovely Maria (Veronica Carlson) also gives rise to a number of chilling moments.

The movie also features some fine acting, gorgeous sets and great camerawork... not to mention the gorgeous cleavages of Carlson and Barbara Ewing! In other words, it's got all the elements we expect to find in a Hammer vampire flick from the 1950s and 1960s.

Unfortunately, the film suffers from the lack of a strong antagonist to combat Dracula. Rupert Davies is okay, but he's no Peter Cushing (Van Helsing in "Horror of Dracula") or Andrew Keir (Father Sandor in "Dracula: Prince of Darkness"). It also doesn't help the film that the good guys triumph in the end here because of a deus ex machina finale. (And I think that plot device has rarely been so literally on display as it is in this film.)

If you're a fan of Hammer's vampire movies, I think you'll enjoy "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave". It's not quite as good as "Horror of Dracula" or "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", but it's a nice chiller.


  1. I like this one a lot. LOVE the cinematography in it. I haven't seen DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS yet, though, but I'm guessing it's one of the essential Hammer Dracula movies? I'm not very well-versed in Hammer, but I do plan on watching a bunch of them some time before the end of the year.

  2. I believe that it is. It's the sequel to "Horror of Dracula." ("Brides of Dracula" is more like "The Additional Adventures of Van Helsing" than a sequel to the first Hammer film.)

    One of these days, I'm going to have to revise and repost my article about the "two Hammer Dracula series".