The Brides of Dracula

08/29/2015 06:45

Film: The Brides of Dracula

Year: 1960

Director: Terence Fisher

Writer: Peter Bryan, Edward Percy and Jimmy Sangster

Starring: Peter Cushing, Martita Hunt and Yvonne Monlaur



This was another movie that I remember watching fresh out of college. I’ll be honest though; I didn’t necessarily love it the first viewing. I could see that it was solid, but not one that really stuck with me all that much. I decided to give it a rewatch as part of my Journey through the Aughts segment for Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. The synopsis here is vampire hunter Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) returns to Transylvania to destroy handsome bloodsucker Baron Meinster (David Peel), who has designs on beautiful young schoolteacher Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur).

We begin this movie with a bit of voice-over letting us know that despite Dracula being dead, there is still his plague that is going through the Transylvanian countryside. We then see a young, beautiful woman of Marianne. She is on her way to a school for a position of a student/teacher. On her way there, her coach stops in the middle of the woods when there’s a log in the road. Her coachman, Michael Ripper, moves it out of the road and we see someone jump onto the back of the coach as it continues on its journey. It comes to the next village, the last before Marianne’s destination. She goes into the inn/pub to wait. While inside, the man who stowed away pays the coachman and he leaves her there. She is upset because she feels she will be late, but the people around her are upset for a different reason. They all leave the pub.

Another coach arrives, this time with the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt). She sits with Marianne and invites her to her castle as well as offering her a ride in the morning. The young woman agrees to this. At the castle, Marianne finds a man on a balcony below her. When she questions the baroness, we learn it is her son. Marianne can’t sleep and goes out on to the balcony. She sees the young baron on his balcony, looking like he will commit suicide. She goes down there to stop him, but learns that his mother claims he’s insane. He is showing to her that he’s not and she agrees helps him escape. It begins a nightmare by doing so as the baron kills his mother and then leaves the castle. The servant of Greta (Freda Jackson) informs her that she made a horrible mistake.

The following morning Doctor Van Helsing finds Marianne asleep in the woods. He wakes and inquires about how she got there. She remembers most of the night to a certain point. Van Helsing agrees to take her the rest of the way to the school and even helps out to calm Herr Lang (Henry Oscar) who is upset that she is late. Van Helsing takes his leave and goes back to the inn where Marianne first arrived. It appears that he was requested to come here by the local priest. There was a mysterious death of a young stable girl. Van Helsing believes it is a vampire that is living in the area. He goes about proving it.

All the way, Baron Meinster meets Marianne at the school she works with. He proposes and we know that he’s the creature that Van Helsing is after. Can he stop him from turning the young Marianne and others at this finishing school?

That’s where I’m going to leave my recap for this movie. It is interesting to me for the fact that this movie is a sequel to Horror of Dracula, making it the second vampire film in the line of Dracula films from Hammer. On top of this, it also looks to be a co-production with Universal International for theatrical release in some countries. Just something that I wanted to establish here.

Going from what I have shared, Dracula has been destroyed, but vampires are still in the area. They did bring back Cushing to reprise his role of Van Helsing. There is some interesting trivia I found that this movie changes the rules that were established in the previous one. They stated that vampires cannot become bats, but they are able to in this one. I don’t like Van Helsing stated one thing in the previous and now saying they can as it feels like they weren’t planning on a sequel. I’m not going to hold much against the movie though as during research, he may have some different information and this is a different line of vampires from Dracula.

This movie is also quite interesting with what it sets up in the beginning of the movie. It makes us think that Baroness Meinster is going to be the vampire. She brings Marianne to the castle, much like what we get in Dracula. I like that the movie has a bit of swerve. Taking this a bit deeper, the baroness seems like a villain by having her son chained up. What we learn the truth, it is hard to fault her. She doesn’t want to destroy her son and is also protecting him from running wild. She is making some horrible decisions though.

The last aspect of the story I want to bring up here is that I like that Marianne is going to a finishing school and that is where the vampire attacks. They know that Van Helsing knows how to destroy him and the casket is moved to a different location, which is reminiscent to Dracula as well. I just like the idea that we have all these young women that the vampire can feed on. They don’t really utilize it as much as I would have liked, but they do a bit. I will also say that this movie is a bit boring despite its 85 minute runtime for whatever reason.

Where I want to go next is the acting of the movie. We have the legendary Cushing in this movie and there’s not a lot for me to say. He does an amazing job here as Van Helsing. He’s probably the one that I think of when it comes to this character in film. Hunt is solid as this creepy baroness. As I said, I like how she’s established at first and the truth of her position. Monlaur is gorgeous. I also think that she plays this role very well. Peel is good as our villain. I just like how he is established, much like his mother and the reveal of their roles to the truth. The rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed as well in my opinion.

For the last thing to go over would be the effects. Being that this is a Hammer film, we don’t really get a lot. There is a bit of a blood. It is orange and I really enjoy it for nostalgia. There isn’t a lot though. I like the look of the vampires and the fangs that are used. The bat effects we get you can tell are rubber. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen some movies after this that don’t do it as well though. It isn’t great, but I’ll take it. The cinematography is well done and I come to expect that when I see Terence Fisher’s name in the credits.

So now with that said, this movie is better than I remember it. It is a good sequel to Horrors of Dracula. I like that they establish early that Dracula is dead, but that vampires aren’t necessarily dead though. The acting is probably the best part here with Cushing, Monlaur and Peel. There is a bit of changes to the vampire lore, but I won’t’ hold it against the movie too much. The effects for the most part are pretty solid. It would really be the effects with the bat that doesn’t. The soundtrack fit for what was needed without not really standing out. I’d rate this movie as above average. Lacking a bit to go into the good range, but still solid Hammer film.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10