Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Dracula (Christopher Lee) in attack mode

DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966). Director: Terence Fisher.

Two couples are touring Europe -- Helen and Alan (Barbara Shelley, Charles Tingwell) and Alan's brother Charles (Francis Matthews) and his wife Diana (Suzan Farmer) -- when they are warned to stay away from Carlsbad by Father Sandor (Andrew Kier). Naturally, they go directly to Carlsbad despite Helen's sensible misgivings. There they wind up "guests" in Dracula's castle (which is not musty and full of cobwebs but quite beautiful and handsomely appointed) and given every courtesy by the late count's helpful manservant, Klove (Philip Latham). It isn't long before Dracula is no longer dead, however, and a cat and mouse game ensues between him and Klove and the two horrified couples. With top notch photography [Michael Reed], direction and acting -- Christopher Lee makes quite an impression as Dracula despite the fact he hasn't a line of dialogue --  this is one classy horror film, superior to its predecessor Horror of Dracula, good as that was. (Neither Lee nor Dracula actually appeared in the first follow-up, The Brides of Dracula.) Creepy and suspenseful, this one works every step of the way. As usual, James Bernard's music is a bonus. Peter Cushing's brief appearance at the opening is taken from a previous film.

Verdict: One you can really sink your teeth into. ***1/2.

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