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Dracula: Prince of Darkness

UK 1966
produced by
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)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 vampire.

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.

Kill ?

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 gothic.

 

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
-
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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD