This is the third time that Christopher Lee pulled on his tux and cape to play the world’s most famous bloodsucker. And I have to say third time was the charm.
When we last left Lee’s Dracula, he had been outsmarted again by a priest and his worthy prey and sent to a watery grave. (How that stopped him still boggles me!)
Just as the villagers breathe a sigh of relief, a bishop (Rupert Davies) comes to visit the village and vows to finally seal Dracula’s castle forever.
What they forget to do is drag Dracula’s body out of the frozen lake and put him in the castle before they seal it.
Other problems with this logic is that if it had been such a long time why hadn’t the lake defrosted setting Dracula free?
That would have been an easier plot device then one of the priests slipping and falling outside the castle and his blood trickling down to Dracula.
After Dracula is awoken again and he can’t get back into his castle, the Prince of Darkness seeks revenge.
He stalks the bishop and sets his sights on the bishop’s tasty daughter Maria (played by Hammer film damsel Veronica Carlson).
“Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” was a worthy sequel to the original film if you pardon some rather obvious plotholes.
The film actually allows Lee to say something, act and be rather fiendish. You have the village love triangle between Maria, her boyfriend, Paul, and a barmaid, Zena. And each of the character’s are developed and all have a motive. Love the envy and desperation shown by the barmaid, played by Barbara Ewing.
She knows she is going to die but when Dracula asks her to bring Maria to him, she screams, “Why do you want her, when you can have me?”
The woman is so desperate for someone to pay attention to her begs for it even when faced with her own mortality.
You have a strong performance from Rupert Davies. And the film actually tries to expand the vampire myth.
The scenes with Dracula actually seducing his prey and convincing a priest to serve him are all high-lights of the film because they actually expand the overt silliness of how Dracula used to do these feats in the other films.
The expansion and struggle of the victim adds more depth to not only the myth but the humanity of the victim. Nothing is instantaneous so why should this be?
The downside to the film are the plotholes and the rather fast-tracked ending. If the movie would have gone on another 15 or 20 minutes then the ending wouldn’t have felt so rushed.
This sequel shows signs of redeeming the series and it makes me intrigued to see more of Lee’s Dracula. However Frankenstein is still the best Hammer series.
3.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer