While this is the second movie from Hammer to use the Dracula name it doesn't actually feature Dracula himself. But we're still in Transylvania and there are still fanged threats around, mainly thanks to the dapper Baron Meinster (David Peel), and when a young travelling woman (the lovely, though not overly endowed with acting talent, Yvonne Monlaur) finds herself in trouble she is more than a little relieved to be given a helping hand by the great Dr. Van Helsing (played again by the great Peter Cushing). But things don't stop there and it's not long before Van Helsing realises that there is more than one vampiric beast he needs to lay to rest in Transylvania.
Directed by Terence Fisher, and written by a quartet of people, The
Brides Of Dracula may not quite manage to make you forget that you
wanted to see Christopher Lee appearing in the title role but it
certainly manages to make its own mark thanks to a mix of great
atmosphere, spooky imagery and moments of originality (Van Helsing
dealing with a bite wound springs immediately to mind).
Cushing is as good as he always is, Monlaur is very pretty, Peel
tries hard with the character he's given and Martita Hunt and Freda
Jackson do very well with their screen time. There's also a very small role for Michael Ripper as a coachman and the beautiful Andree Melly makes a great impression as Gina but this is all about the
dread and foreboding ladled over everything and it works very well in
The finale may not be quite as intense and exciting as some other
releases from the studio but it again impresses with a bit of
originality and I enjoyed the use of that Gothic horror staple - the
creaky old windmill - immensely. There's really only one thing I can hold against it, but it's a biggie, and that's the fact that the title is a big, fat lie.