Thursday, June 9, 2011
DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
Freddie Francis, 1968
Starring: Christopher Lee, Veronica Carlson, Rupert Davies, Barbara Ewing, Barry Andrews
In another attempt at continuity after Dracula: Prince of Darkness, the Count has supposedly been dead a year, thanks to being buried in a frozen mountain stream in the last film. A skeptical monsignor (Rupert Davies) is tired of the town’s vamp phobia, so he marches up the mountain to Castle Dracula in an incredible act of hubris, performs an exorcism and bars the Count’s entrance from his own home with a huge golden cross. This leads indirectly to the Count waking up majorly pissed off and declaring unholy war on the monsignor and his family, a widowed sister-in-law and beautiful niece (Veronica Carlson). His niece Maria is trying to marry Paul, who happens to be an atheist. To no one's great surprise, he comes around and rejects his ignorant views by the end of the film. When the monsignor is attacked and dies, it's up to Paul to save his lady love and defeat the beast. Hammer also attempts to sneak in another pointless, plot driven detail to the Dracula mythology: in order for the good Count to stay dead, you have to pray over him with belief while he is dying. Convenient.
The best thing about Dracula Has Risen From the Grave is the introduction of the absolutely gorgeous Veronica Carlson. She went on to star in a couple of Hammer Frankenstein films after this and I don’t know why they didn’t use her more. Other than that, it’s the same old business. Thankfully, Christopher Lee is around more in this film and he actually has dialogue. Unfortunately, nothing can make up for the absence of Peter Cushing. Rupert Davies replaces him as best he is able as a holy man, rather than a scientist. This film somehow seems brighter and more visually stunning than the earlier efforts in the series, though that could be because of the lovely rooftop set with Veronica Carlson prancing around on it. It is also more sexual innuendo and dangerously plunging cleavage lines.
Luckily, this is still available on DVD in multiple versions. I am reviewing the bare-bones Warner Home Video DVD, where the only extra is the theatrical trailer. It is also available in two different Warner Home Video box sets. The first is a random six film, best-of Hammer Horror collection. The second is a four film random Dracula box set. Neither include any additional special features for Dracula Has Risen From the Grave.