Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966, Terence Fisher)

Dracula-Prince-of-Darkness1

Setting: Kalsbad in what is now Germany, 10 years after the events of the 1958 Hammer movie Dracula.

Faithful to the novel? In effect, it’s a sequel to the events of the book. Four travellers from England are warned to avoid a certain castle, but arrogantly ignore the advice. Dracula himself – once resurrected – has no dialogue. Actor Christopher Lee claimed it was because the character’s scripted lines were so dreadful he refused to say them, but writer Jimmy Sangster said he deliberately didn’t give the Count any dialogue. Late on in the story, there’s a Renfield-like character called Ludwig, who eats flies and is under Dracula’s thrall.

Best performance: Francis Matthews is okay as Charles Kent, the heroic lead. He’s forthright and earnest, but fun too.

Best bit: The impressive special effects as Dracula is resurrected through a series of smart dissolves. We see him go from nothing to full-bodied in seemingly one shot.

Review: After clips from the first film in the series act as a kind of ‘Previously on…’, we get a story high on atmosphere but low on drama. Howling wind is liberally dubbed onto scenes and the tension is eked out as much as possible – but there’s precious little plot.

Six coach and horses out of 10

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