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Dracula Has Risen From The Grave (1968)

I'm sure that when most people are writing their requisites for a "horror" movie, the word "boring" would not be one used. Unless they mean "I like to see the drill boring its way into the nun's head". That might be acceptable.

Yet one of the problems with ye olde Hammer films is that yes, occasionally, they were a bit on the drab side.

Sometimes the action takes a while to get going. Sometimes you haven't noticed when the "action", as it were, has actually got going. Sometimes you fall asleep on the sofa in front of Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, and wake up in the middle of BBC News 24 having left a big damp drool mark on the cushion.

Which is a shame, because if you actually stick with it, DHRFTG (as I shall henceforth call it) isn't actually that bad. In fact, some of the early parts of the film are actually quite promising - for example, the blood drained body of a virgin found hanging from the belltower of the local church is a nice touch - as long as you don't spend too long worrying how old Dracula set foot on holy ground to perpetrate the evil deed…

But things go downhill quite quickly. The "hero" is quite frankly a pain in the arse, the heroine's a bit of a drip, even if she does delight in a few rooftop shenanigans, and as for the whingeing, slapheaded priest who starts off all the problems…

But anyway, it's all sorted out in the end, and with themes like faith (and the lack of it) being explored, the script does show a certain amount of intelligence. Although it seems painfully obvious from about 10 minutes in that the vampire will eventually be defeated by the so-called "atheist", and there will be much repenting before things are done and dusted.

What did I like? Well, not the middle of the film, that's for sure. I'd have a hard time telling you what happened, to be honest. I know that an inordinate amount of blood comes out of the priest's head when he falls down the rocks - enough to leak all over the ice, through a big crack and into Dracula's mouth, yet the follicly challenged God botherer has no trouble getting up and moaning a bit.

And the ending's good - anything that has Christopher Lee falling off a mountain onto a cross can't be bad, can it? DHRFTG (see, I told you that's what I'd call it) is flawed, but there's some good ideas at work. Just remember to take some Pro Plus before you start watching.

Director: Freddie Francis Writer(s): Anthony Hinds

Cast: Christopher Lee - Dracula, Rupert Davies - Msgr. Ernest Muller, Veronica Carlson - Maria Muller, Barbara Ewing - Zena, Barry Andrews - Paul, Ewan Hooper - Priest, Marion Mathie - Anna Muller, Michael Ripper - Max, John D. Collins - Student at Second Inn, George A. Cooper - Landlord, Chris Cunningham - Farmer at Inn, Norman Bacon - Altar Boy, Carrie Baker - 1st Victim

 

Last updated: February 26, 2010

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