The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Article #1109 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-28-2004
Posting Date: 8-25-2004
Directed by Terence Fisher
Featuring Peter Cushing, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur

A woman on her way to a situation as a schoolteacher finds herself staying in a strange castle with a lonely baroness, and discovers a man chained up in a separate part of the castle.

This entry in the Hammer Dracula series seems to split the fans. There are those that consider it one of the very best of the series, while others consider it one of the weakest. The non-presence of Christopher Lee may have something to do with it, and certainly David Peel doesn’t have Lee’s imposing presence, but since Peel isn’t supposed to be Dracula himself but a lesser vampire, I have no problem with this. Others dislike what they perceive as logic errors; why couldn’t Baron Meinster escape his silver shackles by transforming himself into a bat? This one also doesn’t bother me, as I’ve always felt that there was an implication that these shackles confined and restricted his powers, rendering him unable to make that transformation. Myself, I really enjoy this Hammer entry; I think it looks better than HORROR OF DRACULA, and I find it more interesting on a scene-by-scene basis than DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS. It’s the little touches I like; the vampire who is so embarassed by her transformation that her first impulse is to hide her fangs, the minion calling on the budding vampire to dig herself out of the grave, and Peter Cushing’s method of burning the vampire poison out of his system are all clever and powerful variations on the vampire theme, and this is what makes a movie like this interesting for me. It does have certain flaws; some of the acting is a little over-the-top at times, and Hammer had a way of overplaying its hand on occasions (I think people start acting too consistently scared too early in the movie for it to be really effective), but overall, I find this one of the more enjoyable Hammer outings.


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