Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966)

Article #183 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 9-15-2001
Posting date: 1-29-2002

Four travellers spend the night at Dracula’s castle despite being warned against doing so. There they encounter a sinister manservant, and eventually, Dracula himself.

The sets are striking and the use of color is very nice throughout this entry in Hammer’s Dracula series, but despite this, I have to admit I find this one tedious. Part of the problem may be the pace of the movie; to my eyes, each scene seems to last a little longer than it really should to hold my attention. Another part of the problem may be that there is nothing in the movie that really surprises; the movie is made up for the most part of elements I’ve seen all too often in vampire movies, with the possible exception of how Dracula meets his fate at the end of the movie. I’ve heard it said that the movie is character oriented, but outside of Barbara Shelley’s performance of an inhibited prude who turns lustful upon becoming a vampire, I find the characters to be singularly dull and talky. I wish they had given Christopher Lee some dialogue, though reportedly he hated the dialogue they gave him; at any rate, I also wish Peter Cushing was on hand to enliven the proceedings (and though there are many who disagree with me, I find Andrew Keir’s Father Sandor character to be an unsatisfactory substitute).

Still, it’s a lot classier than the next one in line.

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