Costume Horror, Horror, Vampire Film
Vampire hunter Van Helsing returns to Transylvania to destroy handsome bloodsucker Baron Meinster, who has designs on beautiful young schoolteacher Marianne.
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First things first, lets get something out of the way. Brides of Dracula. Brides. If you were watching this expecting Dracula, specifically Christopher Lee, I'm sorry to say you're out of luck. With the massive success of Hammer Studio's Dracula (1958), it obviously had much potential for a slew of sequels. Rivers, as the boys in the biz call them. I'm sure you can piece the analogy together yourself. Not wanting to be typecast, Mr. Lee decided to bow down from this one, and instead we are treated to a "substitute teacher" version of Dracula.
Review by Tristan
Added: June 29, 2007
Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur)is on her way to a boarding school to become a teacher. After entering a small inn, the barkeep warns her to not travel alone, and to quickly return to her coach. Unfortunately for Marianne, the coach leaves without her, and she is forced to stay at the in. After being offered food, and a ride to another place that she could stay, the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt) enters, welcomes young Marianne to spend the night in Castle Meinster where she resides alone, and promises to get her to her school early in the morning.
Upon arriving at the castle, Marianne ventures to the balcony adjacent to her room, where she sees a young man across the courtyard on his own balcony. She questions Baroness Meinster about him, and is told that he is her son, the Baron Meinster (David Peel) and he remains on that side of the house, as he is mad, and has embarrassed her so that she cannot have any more guests or parties in her castle. In a subtle sort of way, she is given a warning, not to enter the Baron's half of the house, but what kind of a movie would it be, if she followed the rules? After waking up in the middle of the night, she sees the Baron on his balcony, and thinking he is going to throw himself off of it, she rushes down the stairs and into his part of the house. What she finds is the Baron, chained to the wall, where he asks her to get the key from his mother's room, and help set him free. Apparently, he is the heir to most of Transylvania, and his mother's jealousy forced her to keep him locked up, encouraging the rumor floating around the town that her son is dead.
Needless to say, Marianne helps set the Baron free, setting the movie in motion. After the Baron confronts his mother, and they leave, Marianne gets dressed and returns to his room. There she finds Greta (Freda Jackson) the maid, laughing hysterically, seemingly mad now that the Baron has escaped. Marianne discovers that the Baroness is dead, and takes off, running blindly into the woods all night and into the early morning, where she collapses from exhaustion. Shortly thereafter, a coach rolls by, containing the infamous Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) who is still on a quest to rid Transylvania of all vampires. After Marianne tells Van Helsing of what happened to her the night before, we find out that the town's priest has already summoned Van Helsing, to investigate the strange happenings in the town.
This is my first experience with a Hammer Horror film, and I must say that this might be one of the finest pieces of cinema I have ever seen in my life. Hammer films are known for having a limited budget, but the amount of effort that went into making this picture is phenomenal. Visually, it is nothing short of a stunning masterpiece. Filmed on some truly amazing locations, both night and day, the movie looks spectacular. For a film that is nearly 50 years old to look this much better than half of the movies today, CGI included, really says something.
For the musical score, it is very rare that I feel a soundtrack contributes to how scary a film is. Sure there's creepy music, and all the classic horror films have their eerie themes, but the music in this was breathtaking. Every scene built up and up until you almost couldn't take it anymore. Every cymbal clash, every baritone blast sent shivers down your spine and made you just as terrified as the characters up there on the screen.
The acting, while it may sound repetitive, was amazing as well. Every line was delivered wonderfully, and with purpose. Every line had a reason for being spoken, and spoken well. While I thought at first I'd miss Christopher Lee's performance, I quickly forgot all about Dracula, as every actor completely owned their scenes and were more than believable. Peter Cushing, who most younger kids would know as Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars: A New Hope, brought so much to his role as Van Helsing, I couldn't believe he hadn't been that man his entire life.
I know it seems that me tossing out a perfect 10 should be a rare occasion, and should be reserved for only the best of films, but I know I couldn't sleep tonight unless I gave this movie a perfect score. Every aspect of it was utterly brilliant, and I've never been so impressed by an older, low budget horror movie in my life. I picked this one up in a pack of 8 Hammer Horror films for $20, which was probably the smartest purchase I've made in a very long time. I know horror isn't everyone's cup of tea, but a film like this deserves to be watched by literally everyone.
10/10; and a well deserved 10/10 I must add.
- added 03/28/2014, 05:46 PM
Really? Not perfect by any stretch. Sure, it's a
decent little flick; I'd definitely recommend it
but 10/10? Not remotely. The biggest problem is
the film's villain. You can't go from Christopher
Lee to David Peel. Lee knows how to simply portray
malice in every motion, whereas Peel just looked
goofy. Anytime he was trying to be scary he
reminded me more of a child at Halloween.
Also, The Brides of Dracula is still a stupid
and misleading title. They're not Dracula's brides
at all, so any ill-feelings towards Dracula's
exclusion here is well-warranted. Plus, why the
hell is the movie named after them anyway? They're
in there for about five minutes, and do nothing
but hide in the corner, hissing.
- added 03/31/2014, 04:36 PM
I'd like to read your review then 385, instead of
just bashing someone else's
- added 03/31/2014, 07:58 PM
Uh oh, here comes Bill again, unable to tell the
difference between a mindless insult and a
differing opinion. First off, I gave reasons in
the comment why I didn't like the movie. Second
off, I didn't bash the review at all. Hurled some
insults at the movie, sure, but nothing at the
review itself. Also, I love your little sign off.
"How about writing your own review" As
if I'm afraid or unable to put my thoughts into
words and put them out for the world to comment
on. In case you forgot, I've written plenty. And
yes, I've written reviews where people have
thought I was out of my mind for liking this, for
not liking that. Yet somehow, I find the
perseverance to carry on, even though I've had
people tell me they don't think like I do.
- added 04/01/2014, 08:40 PM
His opinion is 10/10, I agree. You state your
opinion as fact, and not opinion. And you belittle
the films title? Grasping at straws.
- added 04/01/2014, 08:59 PM
Every review on this site has opinion stated as
fact. However, the majority of us have enough
common sense to realize they're opinions simply by
reading them without needing to be spoon fed.
And yes, it is (factually) a misleading
- added 04/01/2014, 11:01 PM
Obviously you can't read. Belittling the films
title was a separate statement from what your
"opinion" of the film was. you want the
last word then? I like tristans review. I don't
like your opinion of the film. Like it or not. Go
ahead now, take that last word.
- added 04/01/2014, 11:55 PM
Which is why the two thoughts are separated with
a hard return. Ready? Here comes another one.
Whether or not you like my opinion has no
absolutely no bearing on the fact that it is my
opinion. That's the fact that you're missing. You
have no conviction in your opinions; to you an
opinion is a fragile thing that needs to be
sheltered and protected lest a different one
should come along and obliterate it. That's why
you've replied twice and haven't responded
directly to any one of my counterpoints. That's
why you can't tell the difference between me
disagreeing with this review and me bashing it
(Wanna know a secret? I liked his review too).
That's why you think "That's just your
opinion" is a retort instead of an
observation. That's why you threw a tantrum
because I made a joke bashing whatever movie you
bought. And that's why I write reviews and you
copy/paste public domain compilations.