The Brides of Dracula
The 323rd review!
I could get used to this not having to go to work thing. So far we've gone to Cedar Point, picked pumpkins, watched some movies and made some really good pizzas. Anyways, when I do my October reviews, I think people believe I go in with a schedule of movies but that couldn't be further from the truth. I never know what I'm going to watch the day of. It's why I enjoy suggestions! Like when Mr. McMaster asked me to watch...
The Brides of Dracula (1960)
Through the opening narration we learn that Dracula is dead, but he still has vampires running around the countryside causing havoc. We open with a Parisian woman, Marianne Danielle being taken on a wild carriage ride through the foggy countryside. Once she gets to the town for a little dinner, her carriage driver abandons her. Despite warnings from the locals she decides to stay at the castle of the baroness who happens to visit the inn she's currently marooned at.
At the castle Marianne learns the baroness has a son who she keeps chained up in his room. Taking in by the young man's charm and his plight, she frees Baron Meinster, setting the plot into motion. You see, he was chained up for a very good reason, he's a vampire that the baroness planned on feeding her to. While he was alive, The baroness nurtured his wild side until he eventually fell in with some vampires. She had him chained up but couldn't bring herself to kill him so she'd lure young woman to her castle as food for her vampire son.
From there the movie turns into your standard vampire fare as the awesome Peter Cushing, playing Dr. Van Helsing, finally gets introduced and he tries to hunt the vampire down.
One thing that was odd to me, Cushing doesn't show up in the movie until 30 minutes in. He gets top billing and was the most bankable star, but for a long time, he's not in it and the movie suffers because of it. But when he does show up, the film gets much better. He's such a cool and badass character. From the way he dresses, how he carries himself and his attitude it's just awesome. He's all polite courtesy, but he knows, and everyone else knows Van Helsing could tear them apart.
I mean, he's the dude who killed Dracula and charges headlong into a vampire nest. Everything about the character is cool and everyone on screen knows it. He is able to do whatever he wants and change a person's entire demeanor just by who he is. Van Helsing just being himself is more entertaining than the scary stuff and the action scenes. He really is a wonderful character that's played wonderfully.
As for the move itself, it's not the greatest. Dracula is dead and Christopher Lee opted against returning for the role because he didn't want to be typecast. The antagonist in this is nowhere near as good as Lee. Just looking at the two of them, Lee is not someone you would want to mess with, Baron Meinster looks like he ties his sweaters around his neck. On top of a lesser antagonist, there were moments where I was bored and was struggling to stay awake.
While nothing gets added to the Dracula mythos and it doesn't try anything different, it gets a lot of points for its ending. Spoiler alert here, but the movie is more than 60 years old and there's no way to talk about it without spoiling. You've been warned. Anyways, they're doing battle at a windmill and the Baron has set the place on fire. Van Helsing and Danielle are forced to climb to the top. Once they're outside, Van Helsing spies Meinster and jumps on the sail and in the moonlight it creates a giant shadow in the shape of a cross, trapping the vampire until he dies. It's a really impressive and awesome idea. I've seen a bunch of vampire movies and this ending is by far the most clever.
Apparently the original ending involved Van Helsing summoning a bunch of bats from Hell to kill Meinster and his vampire brides but Peter Cushing refused. He argued that Van Helsing would never resort to using black magic. I agree and I'm so glad they went with the ending they did. It's so much cooler and stays true to the character.
The movie itself is pretty meh but Peter Cushing is great and the ending is awesome.
6 Dr. Chainsaws!
The Brides of DraculA
1 h 26 min
Directors: Terence Fisher
Starring: Peter Cushing, Freda Jackson, Martita Hunt
A brave young woman (Yvonne Monlaur) takes refuge in a mysterious chateau but soon finds herself the prey of a treacherous vampire intent on claiming her.