The Brides Of Dracula

The Brides Of Dracula (1960) comes as a sequel to the 1958 Hammer Horror classic The Horror Of Dracula. Directed by Terence Fisher. It stars Peter Cushing as Van Helsing; Yvonne Monlaur as Marianne Danielle; Andrée Melly as her roommate, Gina; Marie Devereux; David Peel as Baron Meinster, a disciple of Count Dracula; and Martita Hunt as his mother. I honestly do not know why this movie was called “The Brides Of Dracula” and given the tag line “the most evil, blood-lusting Dracula of all” – Dracula doesn’t even feature in this movie at all! He is mentioned twice in the movie and that’s it! And the women aren’t his brides either – they aren’t anyone’s brides.

The movie starts off a while after Dracula’s death in the first movie. Marianne Danielle, a young French teacher from Paris on her way to a school in Transylvania is abandoned in a small village by her coach driver. At an in she meets Baroness Meinster and despite warnings of the inn keepers, she accepts her invitation to stay at her castle. There at night, Marianne see the young Baron who is tied at the ankle with an iron chain – she is told that the Baroness’s son is insane and is kept tied for his own safety. However later she sneaks past to meet him and he convinces her that he is sane and kept locked up as his mother wanted to usurp his lands. Marianne helps him break free and the Baron intimidates his mother to submission. Later, the servant Greta (who has taken care of the Baron since he was a baby) goes into hysterics. She forces Marianne to look at the Baroness’ body, and the puncture marks in her throat. Marianne flees into the night. She is found, exhausted, by Dr. Van Helsing the following morning. She doesn’t remember all that has happened, nor is she familiar when asked with the words “undead” or “vampirism.” He escorts her to the school where she’s to be employed.

Van Helsing goes back to the village and finds a young girl that has been murdered; it is the Baron who has feed on her. The local priest Father Stepnik has suspicions about the castle and the Baroness and her son and had called Van Helsing to the village. That night, Baron Meinster’s first victim rises from her grave, aided by Greta, as witnessed by Van Helsing and the priest. The newly vampirized village girl flees while Greta tries to hold off the two men. Van Helsing goes to the castle and discovers the Baroness, now risen as a vampire herself, as well as the Baron. After a brief scuffle, the Baron flees, abandoning his mother who, in her undead state, is full of self-loathing and guilt. After sunrise the next morning, Van Helsing “releases” her with a wooden stake. The Baron meanwhile goes to see Marianne at the school house and asks her to marry him, which she agrees to. Her jealous roommate however becomes the next victim, when she is visited by the Baron who bites her and turns her into a vampire.

Gina’s coffin is kept in a stable and she wakes up (after the locks on the coffin, kept there at Van Helsing’s requests, falls off as if by magic) and tries to seduce Marianne, while a vampire bat kills the stablekeeper who was outside the stable at the time. As Gina tells Marianne that they can both love the Baron, Van Helsing comes in and saves Marianne from being bitten by Gina. Finding out that the Baron is in an old wind mill, he rushes to confront the vampire. Van Helsing is attacked by Gina and the village girl but are repelled by his cross; however Greta who is still human jumps him and takes the cross away. She however falls down and dies (in a bizarre for no reason scene) and Van Helsing comes down. The Baron then attacks him  subdue Van Helsing and bites him, inflicting him with vampirism before leaving. When Van Helsing wakes, he realizes what has happened. He heats a metal tool in a brazier until it is red-hot, then cauterizes his throat wound and pours holy water on it to purify it; the wounds immediately disappear – all the while being watched by the two brides, the female vampires – why the heck did they not attack him??? Anyways, Baron Meinster brings Marianne to the mill and tells Van Helsing that he is going to turn her into a vampire.Van Helsing however uses his flask of holy water and throws holy water into the Baron’s face, which sears him like acid. The Baron knocks down hot burning coals as he heads outside, which causes a fire in the old mill and presumably the two female vampires are killed in it. While the Baron flees outside, Van Helsing takes Marianne up into the mill, then out via the huge sails, which he moves to form the shadow a gigantic cross. The shadows falls on Baron Meinster, who is killed by it. Helsing goes to ground level to make sure he’s dead then comforts Marianne as the mill burns. Meinster’s vampire brides (presumably) die in the fire.

I like the look of the film and some of it is quite good. However there are some totally derived moments like the death scene, the bad acting from the school mistress and the stupid death of Greta. Even Cushing falls and fights with the Baron in a funny manner. Still 7 outta 10!

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