Dracula - Prince of Darkness (1966)
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Christopher Lee returned to the Hammer horror series for director Terence Fisher's third and final Dracula film. The vampire's ashes have been tended at Castle Dracula by a creepy butler named Klove (Philip Latham) for eight years. Two vacationing couples show up and argue for about 40 minutes, then Latham trusses Alan (Charles Tingwell) up over the ashes and cuts his throat. The blood revives Dracula (Lee), who quickly bites Alan's wife Helen (Barbara Shelley). The other couple escapes, taking refuge at a monastery run by Father Sandor (Andrew Keir), and the rest of the film deals with the bloodthirsty Count's attempts to get them. His demise, interestingly, is by running water, a vampire-slaying method not often employed on film. Followed by Dracula Has Risen from the Grave. … More
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Critic Reviews for Dracula - Prince of Darkness
Full of the sensual mysteriousness which Hammer used to achieve so effortlessly during their long occupation of Bray Studios.
It's an effective bit of Hammer horror, boasting the expected atmospherics, period trappings, literary conceits and, yes, buxom beauties.
Probably Hammer's last great Dracula film %u2014 a solid, sometimes imaginative effort.
The least effective Hammer horror film featuring Christopher Lee as the fly-by-night Count.
Another Hammer vampire flick. About average for the series.
Audience Reviews for Dracula - Prince of Darkness
'Dracula: Prince of Darkness' opens with an iris-shaped recap of the previous film and this is arguably the most fearsome, canny and opulently mounted of the two. Deep in the Carpathian Mountains, remnants of vampirism are being exterminated at an exponential rate and a young, matronly woman on a wooden gurney is brought to a pyre to be staked in order to end the bloodthirsty curse. In his sophisticated, doom-laden manner, Fisher is commenting on the fervent mentality of religious superstition and he mythologizes Carlsbad into a den of iniquity. Like Godot, Dracula's presence overshadows the grim first-half where he is spoken about long before his reappearance. Once Lee is resurrected around the 50-minute mark, he is a churlish host to his dinner guests and aside from some guttural hisses, he doesn't speak any baronial dialogue. Similar to a roving panther, Lee is animalistic and Machiavellian. Although Peter Cushing's Van Helsing is truant from his continuation, his absence doesn't dwindle the pulse-pounding effect. James Bernard's symphonic score is noteworthy and the gliding shots through the castle's corridors enkindle the slow-burn intensity inch by inch. The ritualistic blood-draining scene is pretty risqué for the era and the stop-motion, misty revival in Dracula's crypt is flawless. This is the regal watermark for which Hammer Studios measures their output.More
Dracula-Prince of Darkness isn't a bad movie about the world's most famous vampire, but its definitely not the greatest either. Having Terence Fisher in the director's chair is definitely a plus, but the story's kind of weak. The ritual by which Dracula is resurrected was probably the highlight but unfortunately it took its sweet time happening 45 minutes in. Lee does an always-superb job as Dracula and Andrew Kier was great as the badass cleric. Barbara Shelley's subtle foxiness was wasted on a whiney role and how Dracula is... stopped this time was kind of weak. Not the best Dracula movie ever, but not the worst either...More
Dracula (Christopher Lee) rides again in yet another Hammer entry in the Dracula franchise. This film is enjoyable horror hokum, but it has an awfully shallow story, fleshed out with a slow opening stretch and some amusing vampire lore in between the sporadic vampire attacks.
Four British travellers are journeying through the Carpathian Alps in the 1800s. They are repeatedly cautioned to steer clear of Carlsbad Castle but, being typically stuffy and stubborn, they end up going there anyway. The castle is deserted apart from a rather zombified manservant. During the night, one of the travellers is slain by the manservant, and his blood is used to resurrect the long-dead Count Dracula. Time for another bout of blood-sucking mayhem....
Christopher Lee has a small role this time around, but gets across a good performance due to his commanding presence in the title role. Andrew Keir is also good as a priest-cum-vampire-slayer, though he has to overcome some dumb dialogue. The slow build-up is rather damaging, as it generates more tedium than chills. The opportunities for real terror are somewhat fudged too, since most would-be "shock" moments are telegraphed too far in advance. However, Hammer buffs and vampire addicts will doubtless feel more than satisfied.
This film is not quite the kind of sheer perfection that you find in "Horror Of Dracula" or " The Brides Of Dracula" but is a good 3rd film in the Hammer films Dracula series
As is usual for Director Terrence Fisher, the movie is extremely atmospheric and creepy. Fisher doesn't rely on quick cutting or sudden close-ups to frighten the audience. He is conservative with those kinds of techniques and the film is mostly built on long takes from distant angles with the frame being menaced by hideous shadows and unsafe corridors. A large portion of the film takes place out of doors, and there are many wonderful scenes set in a shadowy wood with the sun about to fall. Dracula's Castle itself is rather charming compared to most other films (this is also true in Horror Of Dracula). The interior's are lushly decorated, colorful, bright and in good repair... but you still get a sense of something unhinged.. A sense of wrongness about the castle. I think this is because the castle is so barren with only a single inhabitant (the zombie-like caretaker Klove).. It's somehow surreal for such a large empty place to be so cheery. It's a more subtle way of making the castle frightening than filling it with cobwebs and rotting woodwork. The pacing is deliberate, giving the film a hypnotic quality. At times it can be too deliberate and that is one of the movie's main flaws.
I thought the fact that Christopher Lee didn't speak in this film was interesting. I read somewhere that Lee thought the Dracula's lines were just so bad in the script that the just decided to have Dracula stay silent, I will say this turned out to be a good choice. the silent Dracula featured in this film is somehow more ghostly and eerie than most depictions? You really get the sense of `undead'. Andrew Keir was also great as a practical, no-nonsense priest. The rest of the acting is pretty good with Barbara Shelley being the only other stand out and Charles Tingwell being the only performance that was lacking (although his part is so small it doesn't really matter).
Compared to the first film, this film is darker and a bit more violent. A little less safe overall. Because it isn't directly based on the novel, it's slightly less predictable than `Horror Of Dracula'.. We don't know how the story will ultimately end up. I liked it a lot. Despite its flaws it's a classic in it's own right and a must see for any horror movie fan
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