Sunday, November 25, 2007
Dracula: Prince of Darkness
I didn't notice it at the time, but I guess Christopher Lee doesn't say anything in this movie. He communicates only in vampire snarls. According to the IMDb trivia page, this is because Lee thought so little of his lines in the script that he decided he'd rather go silent.
This largely inessential spin on the Dracula story is Hammer Studios' sequel to The Horror of Dracula. It follows brothers Charles and Alan Kent and their wives Diana and Helen. The group is stranded in the middle of the Black Forest when their coachman refuses to take them any further. They're soon rescued by another coach and brought to a nearby castle. They're tended to by a rather cranky butler named Klove who explains that his master is dead but had left instructions that all visitors are to be admitted and cared for.
He sternly defends his master's legacy, insisting the Dracula family name was "respected." Watching Klove stick up for his boss, I was reminded of other formerly innocent names that are now irrevocably associated with evil. Who now can hear the name Manson and not think of the twisted man behind the Tate/LaBianca murders? Who now can hear the name Bundy and not think of that horrifically stupid television show Married...With Children?
Anyway, Klove wastes little time before cornering and killing Alan. He dangles Alan's body upside-down over some ashes in a coffin and slits his throat. From the wet ashes, Dracula's body begins to reform. Helen goes next, Dracula's first vampire convert.
Everything that happens after that is pretty much exactly what you'd expect. There were really only two surprising pieces of information I pulled from this movie. The first is that a vampire has to actually bite you on the neck in order to turn you into a vampire. Diana gets bitten on the wrist at one point and the monks who rescue her and Charles insist it can be operated upon. She never turns, so I guess they're right. The second is that vampires are terrible swimmers.