Today: February 21, 2024

Dracula Prince Of Darkness

Sparkly Twilight vampires might be all the rage right now but you just can’t beat a good old fashioned Dracula movie.

Sparkly Twilight
vampires might be all the rage right now but you just can’t beat a good old
fashioned Dracula movie.

Hammer’s classic vampire movie, Dracula
Prince of Darkness
, is released on Blu-ray this month and thanks to a
fantastic restoration job, the lure of the legendary bloodsucker is as
strong as ever.

The Kents are Alan and Charles, two well-to-do brothers and their wives, Helen
and Diana, travelling in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains. As the classic Dracula tropes dictate
they of course stop off at a tavern only to be warned that they should avoid
visiting a particular castle (guess whose?). Ignoring the advice, the Kents continue on to their
next predictable trope of being abandoned at said castle by a superstitious
coach driver who refuses to go further.

Deciding to venture into the castle only confirms Helen’s
growing concern that something is very wrong as a table is laid, ready and
waiting for them. As is the über
creepy manservant, Klove, who seems to be running the castle singlehandedly but
hasn’t been spending his time perfecting his hosting skills; he’s been waiting
for stranded tourists to help him resurrect his master.

Dracula is soon very much alive and kicking and the Kents
must avoid succumbing to the thrall of the Count in order to make it through
the night.

Christopher Lee’s
return to the series is a welcome one as he was absent from the previous movie,
The Brides of Dracula, so Prince of
Darkness is really the sequel that horror fans had been waiting for. The most notable difference in his
performance is that he has no lines in Prince, which gives the character an
unpredictable quality and keeps the film from falling into campier territory.

Prince is an enjoyable instalment but in the run up to
Dracula’s resurrection, there’s not a whole lot going on; if you fast-forwarded
for a little while, you wouldn’t miss much. And although the plot is very traditional and you can see
plot points coming ten minutes before they arrive, catching the classic clichés
will be half the fun for Hammer
horror fans.

Casual fans and collectors alike will appreciate the clarity
of the Blu-ray image and the great extras: an in-depth look at the filming, a
Christopher Lee-centric episode of world of Hammer, behind the scenes 8mm
footage, restoration comparison and a couple of original trailers.

The film series as a whole deals mostly with traditional
vampire lore but Prince adds much needed violence and a sense of ritual,
particularly in the resurrection scene.
Even with the comically old-fashioned technicolour blood, it’s great to
see a classic Dracula movie with some bite (sorry about that).

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