Hammer Horror the British studio that dominated horror films in the 1950s and 60s specialized in blending a certain aristocratic British air with B movie chills and made quite a few entertaining films. My personal favorite of which is the somewhat hard to find Brides of Dracula, the 1960 sequel to the 1958 film The Horror of Dracula:
Despite the title Dracula actually no appearance in the film, he is recently dead as explained in the opening voice over spoken by Peter Cushing's Van Helsing:
Translyvania, land of dark forests, dread mountains and black unfathomable lakes. Still the home of magic and devilry as the nineteenth century draws to its close. Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires is dead. But his disciples live on to spread the cult and corrupt the world..."
Instead of Dracula the film stars the pretty Yvonne Monlaur as Marienne a French school teacher
In the films opening Marianne is shown in a carriage barelling through the Translyvanian countryside in a ride reminiscent of Jonathon Harker's famed coach ride with the count.
|This coat is absolutely gorgeous.|
The coach stops at a local inn, again in a nod to the original Dracula, where the coach man tipped off by a mysterious figure in black abandons Marianne, much to the horror of the inn keeper and his wife.
Not long after a handsomely dressed old woman, the Baroness arrives,
and invites Marianne back to her home for the night. The cultured Marianne agrees, despite the protests of the inn keeper and his wife.
Brides of Dracula has some of the most beautiful Gothic sets in vintage horror and the Baroness's castle doesn't disappoint
Over dinner the Baroness eats nothing, preferring, unlike Dracula, to drink only wine.
|I love this very 1960s meets Victorian hair and the 60ish take on Victorianna in the grey dress with tartan trim.|
as she regales Marianne with tales of her handsome son Baron Meinster , glimpsed by Marianne earlier. According to the Baroness he is insane and must be confined, but its pretty clear to even the most amature horror film viewer that the Baroness has sized Marianne up as a snack for her son.
Marianne however is sympathetic to the young man's plight, when she sees him chained up in the castle. She rushes to his aide, in a lovely 1960s meets Victorian lilac night gown
and releases him. The distraught Baroness berates her for what she has done.
Marianne listens to her pleas from the protective embrace of Baron Meinster
and when he orders her to her room she readily complies. When she returns she finds the Baron gone, the Baroness dead with two puncture holes in her neck, and the Gypsy servant Gretta in the midst of one of horror's great hysterical rants. Apparently the Baron might be a monster but his old nanny has his back.
Marianne flees the castle and is found collapsed in the woods in the morning by Dr. Van Helsing who has been called to the area to investigate suspicion of Vampirism.
Van Helsing takes Marianne into his carriage and listens to the story of her adventure. He explains he is a Doctor studying a strange disease, affecting members of the cult of the undead. Sizing the pretty Marianne up as prime Vampire bate and the Baron's next intended bride he asks for her help. Marianne readily agrees despite remaining unaware of the Baron's condition. Her promise of help secured, Van Helsing drops Marianne off at the school where she will be teaching,
an institution clearly stuffed to the gills with Vampire snacks.
While Marianne settles into her new job Van Helsing confers with the local priest who is dealing with the problem of a young girl who has been bitten by the Baron. Her distraught father is unwilling to accept that she is undead and has buried her on church grounds.
Van Helsing attempts to stake her but with the assistance of the Baron's Renfield like servant Gretta she escapes.
Meanwhile the Baron arrives at the school and proposes marriage to Marianne who eagerly accepts. However, he is interrupted before he can bite her and must settle for her jealous starry eyed roommate Gina, whom he easily transforms from an innocent young teacher to a bride of hell.
Meanwhile, Van Helsing is putting an end to the Baroness who has been transformed into an unhappy member of the cult of the undead.
He returns to the distressing news that Marianne is engaged to the Vampire Baron and Gina is dead. Van Helsing orders the school staff to keep a watch over Gina's coffin and while Marianne is on duty Gina rises from the grave
apologizes for stealing her boy friend and suggests they "kiss" to make up.
However, before Marianne can be bitten, Van Helsing arrives to save her and once he gains the information he needs to find the Baron he again takes care of the local Vampire issues.
All in all Brides of Dracula is an entertaining film with a good story line and a fantastic Victorian Gothic meets early 1960s style. Its not available for rent or instant viewing on Netflix or Amazon Prime but it is a part of the Hammer Horror Series, a box set eight films available for the bargain price of $15.99