Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)

Dracula (played again by Christopher Lee) returns and this time he's mad at a monsignor (Rupert Davies) who has exorcised his castle and left a ruddy big crucifix on the front door. To get his revenge he plans to take the monsignor's niece (Maria, played by the lovely Veronica Carlson) away and keep her with him. This displeases both the monsignor and the young man (Paul, played by Barry Andrews) who would rather keep the monsignor's niece for himself.

Written by Anthony Hinds and directed by Freddie Francis, the majority opinion seems to be that this is one of Hammer's weaker Dracula outings (though there would be much worse to come) and I have to agree. That's mainly due to a few of the lead characters being pretty dull or even, as is the case with the monsignor, not that likeable.

The actors all do okay, and there's a decent role here for fan favourite Michael Ripper, but there's just an overall feeling of disinterest as one scene plods along into another. Barbara Ewing's character has some good moments, and makes quite an impression in her first scene, but the rest of the supporting cast don't really make much of an impression (except the aforementioned Ripper and Carlson). Ewan Hooper, playing a priest who ends up doing Dracula's bidding, is especially weak.

It's a good job we have Christopher Lee back in the cape because his presence compensates for a lot of the other shortcomings. His portrayal of the fanged fury is always watchable, at the very least, and this is what stops Dracula Has Risen From The Grave from being something you should avoid like a plague rat. There are also a few individual moments, particularly at the start of the movie, that tick the boxes for standard Hammer horror goodness.

I recommend this one to the Hammer completist as being something far from the worst that the studio would make but also way down the list when compared to the other films in the Dracula series.



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