Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Anthony Nelson Keys for Hammer, Seven Arts
directed by Terence Fisher
starring Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Thorley Walters, Philip Latham, Walter Brown, George Woodbridge, Jack Lambert, Philip Ray, Joyce Hemson, John Maxim
screenplay by Jimmy Sangster (as John Sansom), based on a story by Anthony Hinds (as John Elder) and a character by Bram Stoker, music by James Bernard, music supervisor: Philip Martell
Dracula, Hammer's Dracula, Dracula (Christopher Lee)
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Travelling thgough the Carpathian Mountains, English tourists Charles
(Francis Matthews) and Alan (Charles 'Bud' Tingwell) and their respective
wives Diana (Suzan Farmer) and Helen (Barbara Shelley) meet father Sandor
(Andrew Keir), who particularly warns them to spend the night in Castle
Dracula (even if the Count has died 10 years ago), but as these films go,
our foursome of travellers are somehow lured just there, where a sinister
servant, Klove (Philip Latham) even has food and rooms prepared for them
... but soon enough, Alan is lured into Dracula's crypt, hanged upside
down over Dracula (or rather his ashes) resting place, and he conveniently
gets his throat cut, so his blood can drip down onto the vampire's ashes
and give him human form (precisely the form of Christopher Lee, in case
you wondered) once more. Soon Helen is the first to fall victim to the
The next day: Charles and Diana find their friends gone, and since
Diana is all spooked out, Charles gets her away, and then goes looking for
Alan and Helen on his own ... but soon enough, Diana is lured back, and
suddenly she and Charles find themselves having to face Dracula and the by
now vampiric Helen. Only because they realize just in time the vampires
are allergic to crucifixes can they make their getaway ... and meet up
with Father Sandor once more, who soon takes them to a safe place: his
monastery/lunatic asylum, where there are no vampires ... or so the father
thinks, because Dracula has picked up the trail of those who got away from
him, and with Ludwig (Thorley Walters) he has a madman inside the asylum
who obeys him and can gain him entrance into the asylum ... and soon
enough, Dracula has managed to abduct Diana, even if that means Helen the
vampire had to sacrifice her undead life ...
Charles and Sandor realize to save Helen from becoming a vampire too,
they have to stop Dracula before he can return to his castle, but it's a
race against the clock, since Dracula's coach already has a head start.
Our heroes do not catch up with Dracula until he is about to enter his
castle, but somehow Dracula gets sidetracked onto his castle's frozen over
pond ... and with a few shots from his gun, Father Sandor can make the ice
break, because you know, running water can kill a vampire.
Well, until another tourist stops by and carelessly lets a few drops of
blood fall onto the pond - which is exactly what would happen in Freddie
Francis' Dracula has Risen from the Grave from 2 years later ...
Well-crafted and well-played (as so many of the better Hammer
films would be), Dracula: Prince of Darkness is of course no match for
Terence Fisher's Dracula from
1958, but it's still a totally acceptable and at times quite atmospheric