Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Brides of Dracula has no Christopher Lee but instead stars David Peel as blonde, Drac-a-like, Baron Meinster. But at least Peter Cushing's here and Cushing does what Cushing does best - the bounciest and most athletic Van Helsing we all know and love.

Jack Asher as DP shoots like Bava and the film is vivid and full of purples and reds and yellows. The sets are wonderful and how they managed to create those European villages mansions and castles in a small country house in Berkshire, I'll never know. The dressers, sculpters and technicians all deserve medals. A beautiful film.

There are so many memorable performances apart from the aforementioned Cushing. Peel is excellent as Drac... ahem, Meinster and starts as boyish and charming but swiftly turns cruel and quietly commanding. Yvonne Monlaur is very, very French and vulnerable as his Bride to be. Andree Melly as Gina, another bride, is beautiful in a wide-eyed Barbara Steele way. Normally I dislike comic-relief in horror films but Miles Malleson as Dr. Tobler was pretty funny and didn't irritate me all all. I kept expecting Martita Hunt's Baroness Meinster to exclaim "A handbag!". But, out of all these great performances the one that will stick in your memory is Freda Jackson as Greta/Frau Blücher; insane, cackling and hilarious.

Hammer managed to cram a huge amount of vampire mythology into this film that would pave the way for further excursions into Transylvania and I love the way they were so creative with their vampire deaths. Nowadays Brides of Dracula would be considered quite tame (how times change - the original X certificate has been reduced to a 12) but it still has plenty of gothic chills - the scene where a newly created bride claws her way out of her grave is great. There are occasional scenes of gore though including some very good holy water burns. And what a score!

If there is a fault, it has to be the decision to have a blonde vampire. Blonde... really? I'll have no truck with blonde vampires!

Nope-Tober: Random Shit for an Ill-disciplined Mind

Letterboxd Review

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