Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  12 January 1966 (USA)
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Reviews: 93 user | 107 critic

Dracula is resurrected, preying on four unsuspecting visitors to his castle.



(screenplay) (as John Sansom) , (idea) (as John Elder) , 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Barbara Shelley ...
Andrew Keir ...
Francis Matthews ...
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ...
Alan (as Charles Tingwell)
Thorley Walters ...
Philip Latham ...
Walter Brown ...
Brother Mark
George Woodbridge ...
Jack Lambert ...
Brother Peter
Philip Ray ...
Joyce Hemson ...
John Maxim ...
Coach Driver


Two couples traveling in eastern Europe decide to visit Karlsbad despite dire local warnings. Left outside the village by a coachman terrified at the approach of night, they find themselves in the local castle and are surprised at the hospitality extended by the sinister Klove. It turns out the owner, Count Dracula, dead for ten years, has been hoping for such a visit. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis






Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 January 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Disciple of Dracula  »

Box Office


£100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Christopher Lee's stunt double Eddie Powell became trapped underwater during the drowning scene and nearly actually drowned. See more »


When Dracula opens his shirt for Diana Kent to taste the blood on his chest, he is interrupted and has to leave by kicking open a door. He picks Diana up and takes her to a horse carriage, and in the very next shot, Dracula's shirt is closed, completely buttoned back up. He couldn't have done this while carrying Diana's body. See more »


Alan Kent: You forget about all of this in the morning, you'll see.
Helen Kent: There'll be no morning for us.
See more »


Followed by Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hammer's decline starting to show.
15 February 2007 | by See all my reviews

Although this film holds a nostalgic pull for this particular viewer, (having seen it in its original stateside release at a Drive-In)an honest assessment today compels us to admit that the film is a study of a studio in decline.

True, the film is not without its assets, not the least of which is the veteran cast, with the lovely and always dramatically compelling Barbara Shelley pretty much walking off with the picture. Suzan Farmer, as always, is charming, and very easy on the eyes.

However, Bernard Robinson's art direction, (though adequate) doesn't begin to approach his earlier work, (particulary in "Brides of Dracula," "The Man Who Could Cheat Death," and "The Kiss of the Vampire"--and Robinson's genius is of a type that the work 'adequate' sits uncomfortably upon). Curiously, Mr. Robinson was back at the top of his game months later when he designed the plushy, "Plague of the Zombies."

The cinematography is compromised by grainy film stock, poor color, (as noted by film historian Leslie Halliwell), often rushed lighting, and a cumbersome and unnecessary use of wide screen. Terence Fisher filmographer, Wheeler Dixon, has noted the deficiencies in Michael Reeds's lensing on this project. In any case Mr. Reed nowhere equals the beautiful compositions he had managed on "The Gorgon," all of which makes the absence of Jack Asher particularly evident.

That the aforesaid technical credentials are lacking bears ample testament to the studio's drastic mid 60's cost cutting strategies, and the artistically regrettable, but imminent move away from Bray studios.

Moreover, the commercial objectives are baldly evinced here--the film screams "Formula."

Despite these shortcomings, and since this film was one of the last shot at Bray, it does bear compensatory traces of former glories. Thus we fully appreciate the hapless quartet's posthumous toast to Count Dracula, whilst the armorial flags above them billow in a ghostly breeze and the underscoring throbs unnervingly.

And Miss Shelley, as a vampiress, descending the staircase in a diaphanous gown goes a far way on the asset side of the ledger.

Mr. Lee for his part, does his usual hissing and cape waving. Too much is made of his lack of dialogue here. After all he has only a few lines at the beginning of "Horror of Dracula," and a few lines in this film's successor, "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave." So why on earth people feel the absence of such scanty phrases damages this film, who can say?

This picture would have been far better had it been done five years earlier. That said, it is a masterpiece compared to the dreck the eviscerated Hammer would be foisting on the public just five years later.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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