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Brides of Dracula

UK 1960
produced by
Anthony Hinds, Michael Carreras (executive) for Hammer/Hotspur
directed by Terence Fisher
starring Peter Cushing, Yvonne Monlaur, David Peel, Martita Hunt, Andree Melly, Mona Washbourne, Henry Oscar, Freda Jackson, Miles Malleson
screenplay by Jimmy Sangster, based on a character by Bram Stoker, music by Malcolm Williamson

Van Helsing, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Young Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur) wants to start a job as teacher at a private school, however, somehow she is deserted by the driver of her coach, & finds herself in a position that she has to accept the invitation of Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt) to spend the night at her castle.

At first the Baroness seems to be politeness incarnate ... until Marianne finds out that she keeps her son, the Baron (David Peel) locked away & chained up in his room. The Baroness claims that her son is a madman & ios locked away & chained up for everyone else's sake, but eventually, Marianne manages to sneak into his room & talk to him ... & to her the Baron seems to be a very reasonable & quite handsome young man ... & before long, Marianne decides to abuse the hospitality of her hostess & free Baron Meinster ...

Of course, in a way, Marianne was right that the Baron wasn't mad, but the Baroness had in fact other reasons to lock him away, the Baron, you see, IS A VAMPIRE, & once free, his mother is the first he sucks dry ...

Marianne, upon finding the dead Baroness, runs away in sheer terror (even if she doesn't know what she's running from, to her the Baron still is that handsome & nice young man), until she collapses right on the street. Fortunately Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) finds her, always on the look-out for new vampires to stake, & he makes sure she gets to her private school safely ... then he sets out to go vampire hunting.

Indeed, right the next village seems top be plagues by vampires, & wouldn't you know it, castle Meinster is in the direct vicinity ... & since Van Helsing knows that Marianne has freed one of the Meinsters, he sopon goes to investigate ... & finds the Baron & his mother, both vampires, but while Meinster escapes, the mother actually dies by the stake quite willingly.

Meanwhile, Marianne has started her new job at the school, when one day she receives a very charming visitor, the Baron, who brings by the luggage she had left at the castle due to her hasty escape ... & before long he asks for her hand in marriage ... & she wholeheartedly agrees, too ... That night though, Marianne's colleague Gina (Andree Melly) is killed by a vampire (Meinster, of course), which finally brings Van Helsing back  to the school ... & he finds things worse than he had anticipated, as Gina is soon enough back at her feet as a vampire, Marianne is deeply in love with Meinster, & when Van Helsing confronts Meinster in a nearby old mill, Meinster proves a valiant fighter, & before long sinks his teeth Van Helsing's neck ...

But Van Helsing is not without resources, & as soon as Meinster is gone, he burns out the wound in his neck, in order not to become a vampire.

When Meinster comes back to the mill carrying Marianne, he is a bit surprised to findc Van Helsing alive and kicking (as opposed to undead and kicking), but when they engage in another fight, the Baron again seems to have the upper hand, & finally Van Helsing seems to make a cowardly escape ... or so the baron thinks, in fact Van Helsing uses the blades of the windmill to form the symbol of the cross, to once & for all annihilate the vampire who stands exactly in the windmill's (& thus the cross's) shadow.

 


After the success of Dracula, Christopher Lee, who got famous with this movie, refused outrightly to appear in any of its sequels, in order not to be typecast, & since the heads of Hammer knew they couldn't very well substitute the charismatic Lee with just any other actor, they took a rare gamble: to make a Dracula film without Dracula, instead shift the attention to its eternal nemesis Van Helsing  ... a gamble that didn't really pay dividend, since Hammer did not make any more Dracula-less Dracula films, nor Dracula-films at all, until in 1966 Christopher Lee returned to his role in Dracula: Prince of Darkness. & you know what, Lee really did get typecast as Dracula the vampire. He also made good money from it though ...

Despite the absence of Dracula though, Brides of Dracula is a quite vivid & very colourful vampire movie that keeps things going at a steady pace & in which director Terence Fisher once more proves his talent for directing gothics. Actually the movie is so well-made that one gladly overlooks minor plot inconsistencies.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD