Tuesday, October 19, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19 - Movie 2

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) picks up where Dracula: Prince of Darkness left off. A year later, a Monsignor (Rupert Davies) and a cowardly priest (Ewan Hooper) travel to Castle Dracula (which is much harder to reach than in the last movie). While the Monsignor says a rite of exorcism over the castle and seals the front door with a huge gold cross, the priest turns back, stumbling and hitting his head. He lands just above the ice holding the frozen body of Dracula. The ice cracks. The priest's blood flows down to Dracula's lips, reviving him. Prevented from entering his castle, he wills the priest to take him to the Monsignor so he can exact vengeance. Dracula decides to turn the Monsignor's beautiful niece, Maria (Veronica Carlson) into a vampire as part of his revenge. The Monsignor, wise to what's happening recruits Maria's atheist boyfriend, Paul (Barry Andrews), the love child of Hugh Grant and Roger Daltry, to help him save Maria from Dracula.

This one is very atmospheric and has a fine cast. Dracula is in this one as little as he was in Prince of Darkness, but has several lines of dialogue and several scenes that demonstrate what an inhuman animal he is, cruelly using the priest and a serving girl to do his bidding. The Hammer series of Dracula films is known for providing creative demises for Dracula, and this movie is no exception. Here Dracula really gets to show off his strength as a stake the size of a telephone pole is driven into his heart, causing more blood than we've seen in the entire series so far to spurt from his chest, yet he survives to be set on fire, which still doesn't stop him. The rules in this one have changed a bit, but provide spectacular results. The story also is about faith lost and possibly regained, faith to be discovered. The characters are ones we care about, and as a bonus, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave also features Michael Ripper as Paul's kindly boss. So far, the entries in this series are on roughly equal standing as far as quality and enjoyment goes.


1 comment:

Johnny Bacardi said...

While it's far from the best, this is my favorite Hammer Dracula picture, mostly thanks to what seemed like bo-weekly showings on the CBS Late Movie in the 70's. It's just chock full of crazy, with enhancements on vampire lore, such as that deal about the staking not being effective unless the staker prays, which of course our boy Paul isn't willing to do.

Dracula's hissing face as he grills the Larry Fine looking priest about who the heck added the cross to his front door, the beer-glass and broomstick game they played in the tavern, and the energetic finale...all add up to a lot of good memories, and I try to see this one whenever I can.

Did you ever see the tongue-in-cheek movie posters? They had taglines like "Dracula has Risen from the Grave...obviously" and "Boy does he give a hickey" next to a closeup of a bitten throat. Oh, those 60's!