Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Making a grave error

Dracula has risen from the grave from 1968 is the third of the Hammer vampires that count. Freddie Francis took over as director and does some interesting things with colour filters whenever Christopher Lee is on screen.

A clumsy priest falls and cuts his head and soon the blood has dripped through the ice to the frozen Count who having completed his own version of the ice bucket challenge is up and about terrorising the roof tops of another non-specific European town. There are the statutory heaving bosoms, two of which are provided by the gorgeous Veronica Carlson, and of course Michael Ripper is on hand as a friendly baker and innkeeper.

Lee is given some lines to speak and more to do but I sense that Hammer are struggling to know what to do with him. Invading attractive women's bedrooms to ravage their necks is all very well but he doesn't seem to have any grander plan, and it's only a matter of time before the vampire hunters are on his trail for another desperate race against the sunrise as those familiar black horses carry him back to his castle. Which, incidentally, has had a bit of a facelift and been moved up into the mountains since we last saw it. Hammer had moved production from Bray to Pinewood studios so there are all new sets to play with.

As well as the weird colour filters Freddie Francis also gives us lots of close ups on Lee's bloodshot eyes which look very uncomfortable indeed and presumable involved some more hard contact lenses. Lee is as imposing as ever but the whole film seems to add little to the canon apart from a spectacular new way to kill the Count. It's  middling three out five fresh baked strudels for the third film and time to see with the Baron has been up to since his first outing.

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