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If a quintessential example of a Hammer Studio's exercise in Gothic
Horror exists, it is probably this film. Not because it is a flawless
piece of film-making, far from it. Rather because this film manages to
squeeze just about all of Hammer's horror-show templates into it's 92
minute running time.
Here we have the unmistakeably distinctive set design and music score by Hammer mainstays Benard Robinson and James Benard; romantic leads transposing post Summer-of-Love sexual mores (and hairstyles!) to the film's indeterminate post Victorian location; two pub locales, one peopled with wary, hostile, superstitious East-Ender types, the other rollicking with high-spirited youthful inebriates; a pious religious figure (and a much less pious one); a cameo by Michael Ripper; day-for-night location shots; attractive women in low-cut bodices and nightgowns; yet another outlandish method of using trickling blood to revive the antagonist; an eventful screenplay that doesn't measure up to critical evaluation --- whew! I could go on and on.
But please understand, I do not necessarily regard all of the above negatively, just realistically. "D.H.R.F.T.G." is a fun watch if you leave your thinking cap off. Several of the most memorable set-pieces in the Hammer canon are here; the discovery of the girl in the belfry, the attempted staking of Dracula, the Count's seduction of Veronica Carlson, and his over-the-top demise (I won't reveal it here). These scenes lingered for decades in my mind after I saw the film in the early seventies. I was joyful to find the videotape in the '90's and yes, I now happily own the DVD.
One of the harshest critics of this film, incidentally, was it's star. Christopher Lee, who entered the project enduring serious back pain (stuntman Eddie Powell handled the more strenuous action), disliked the script intensely, especially the attempted staking of the Count. His performance, however, betrays none of his vexation; this is one of his best outings as Dracula. Director Freddie Francis coaxes serviceable performances from the rest of the cast. Rupert Davies and Barbara Ewing stand out, as a noble cleric and lusty barmaid respectively.
At the end of the day, I really like this movie, despite it's shortcomings. Heck, I feel like putting on right now. So should you.
Sporting the ultra camp title - "Dracula Has Risen From the Grave",
this is a solid entry in Hammer's Dracula series. What I love about
Hammer is that they aren't afraid to take an existing story and play
around with it to create something new. Even if the idea behind is less
than brilliant and most studios would have shied away, Hammer approach
it with gusto, and the results are always good natured, easy viewing
that's hard to dislike. This film follows Count Dracula as he is
resurrected shortly after the priest, Ernst Muller, exorcises his
castle. Dracula doesn't take this sort of behaviour lightly, and so
decides to take on revenge on the holy man - by taking his niece as his
Dracula is one of the greatest characters ever to be written and portrayed on screen, and it's also one that Christopher Lee has become famous for playing. Unfortunately, Christopher Lee doesn't have a great deal of screen time in this flick; but every moment he is on screen is a highlight and, as usual, he does well with the role and proves that he is the only man other than Bela Lugosi to do it right. Freddie Francis (Dr Terror, The Creeping Flesh) directs this film and succeeds in creating a morbid and fascinating atmosphere that bodes well with the subject material on hand. The film is stylishly shot, and features some of the best use of lighting ever seen in a Hammer film. The camp style that the studio is famous for is here by the bucket load too, and that can only be a good thing. This is hardly Hammer's finest hour, however; the film is relatively slow to start, and the story isn't the most inventive ever to come from the studio - but Hammer fans will enjoy it, and I would have no qualms with recommending this as a decent waste of your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The third installment in the Hammer series, we have Dracula has risen
from the Grave. The title along is awesome and sends chills down your
spine. A new director is in the seat, Freddie Francis. The question is,
what makes a sequel good? Well, not copying the original story is a
start. Giving us characters that we can care about or relate too. And
giving us much more blood and scares. All three categories are in check
here. Christopher Lee is back as well and from what I understand not
very happy. For some reason he didn't like playing Dracula and from
what I read, it was because they would write the scripts and add
Dracula in later so I can understand. However, given speaking lines
compared to the last sequel, his whole presence is still terrifying as
ever. You try to stake Dracula? He'll just grab it and throw it right
back at you. You try messing with Dracula? He'll just go after your
partially the pretty one's. Dracula has risen from the
Grave and he's ready to take on the world.
A year after Dracula has been destroyed, a Monsignor comes to the village on a routine visit. The villagers refuse to attend Mass at church because "the shadow of his castle touches it". To bring to an end the villagers' fears, the Monsignor climbs to the Castle to exorcise it. The Priest cannot follow him up the mountain and the Monsignor continues alone. As the Monsignor exorcises the castle, attaching a large metal cross to its gate, a storm strikes, and the Priest tries to run, but falls and is knocked out, cutting his head on rock. His blood trickles into a frozen stream; through a crack in the melting ice it trickles on to the lips of the preserved body of Count Dracula and brings it to life. The Monsignor goes back to the village believing that the Priest had already safely returned, and assures the villagers that the castle is sanctified to protect them from Dracula's evil. He returns to his home city of Kleinenberg. Unknown to the Monsignor, the Priest is under the control of the resurrected Count. Furious that the cross prevents him from entering his castle, Dracula demands that the enslaved Priest says who is responsible. The Priest leads Dracula in pursuit of the Monsignor and he discovers a new victim for Dracula's revenge - the Monsignor's beautiful niece, Maria.
For the first time we see Dracula being a little more gentle with the girl, I think because Maria is so beautiful, he treats her like a doll. Almost symbolic during the intense scene where he's biting Maria, she grabs her doll and throws it off the bed like her childhood had just been ripped from her. I like the twist of having her boyfriend Paul being an atheist, after all the whole thing of destroying Dracula is to have faith. It was an interesting take on religion vs. science and what Paul has always thought to be black and white isn't so when he realizes he has to fight for the woman he loves. The only flaw I find with the film is the beginning is there is a girl found in the bell hanging, fresh wounds and all. First off, why would Dracula hang her from a bell? Secondly, is this before or after his death in Prince of Darkness? I know the girl hanging from the bell was supposed to be for a good scare, it is effective but just didn't make any sense. However I would say that this is still a very good sequel and one of the better in the Hammer series. It's a good story with a still very effective Dracula.
For the US release of Hammer's fourth Dracula film (only the third to
actually feature Christopher Lee, the Count sitting out Brides of
Dracula), Warner Bros. used a one-sheet of a woman's neck with a
sticking plaster on it, following the title Dracula Has Risen From the
Grave with the single word 'Obviously.' The film itself, however, is
anything but tongue-in-cheek, and played deadly straight with a
conviction the series gradually lost over the years. It's probably the
best-looking of all the Hammer Dracula sequels, and also the first
where Christopher Lee actually speaks. As usual he's almost a
background figure for much of the film, with the bulk of the film
carried by Barry Andrews' atheist student romancing Veronica Carlson's
niece of Rupert Davies' Monsignor, who inadvertently starts the blood
flowing again when his attempt to exorcise Dracula's castle only
results in the Count being revived from his icy grave by blood from a
convenient cut. Finding himself cast out of his home and aided by Ewan
Hooper terrified priest (Renfield presumably being otherwise engaged),
Dracula determines to take his revenge on Davies and his kin, stopping
off en route for a light snack with Barbara Ewing's busty redheaded
With a prologue that takes place before Dracula, Prince of Darkness and the main body of the film taking place a year later, it takes some liberties with the vampire mythology: the revived Dracula's first appearance is as a reflection, he has no problem removing crosses from willing girls' necks while a stake alone is no longer enough to kill him: you have to pray as well, which is a bit of a problem when your hero doesn't believe in God. Yet they're not as jarring as they might be, the latter resulting in one particularly memorably gory sequence. The change in director from Terence Fisher, sadly in decline at that time and unavailable due to a car crash, to Freddie Francis gives the film less of a production-line feel than most of the studio's Dracula series and, despite an awkward filter in some scenes and a distinctly jaundiced look for the Count, the film has a much more expansive look and feel almost unique in the series, with a striking and well-employed rooftop set courtesy of undervalued production designer Bernard Robinson and some relatively unfamiliar Pinewood standing sets rather than the overused backlot at Bray. He gets good performances too, with a particularly nice turn from Michael Ripper as an amiable innkeeper (as opposed to his usual miserable and terrified innkeepers).
Unfortunately while the PAL boasts excellent colour and definition, some shots look oddly distorted, as if stretched, and the sound wanders in and out of synch far too often for comfort. On the plus side it does restore the censor cuts of about half a dozen gallons of blood spurting from Dracula's chest after he gets staked and includes the original trailer.
Early on, "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave" made me feel uneasy... From the scenes of a Monsignor (Rupert Davies) traveling with a priest to perform an exorcism on Castle Dracula in order to bring the superstitious (ha!) congregation back to church on Sunday, to the romantic subplot between a scholarly baker and the Monsignor's daughter, and a distinct lack of Drac, I began to wonder if I was being shortchanged by a title that looked to just capitalize on the success of the Hammer Dracula films. However, the more I kept with it, the more I enjoyed "Grave"--the above-mentioned plot threads, which at first seem corny, are interwoven with delicate skill by director Freddie Francis; the characters and their conflicts are surprisingly endearing (including an angle that brings atheism into the mix); and Christopher Lee is in fine form as the brooding, red-eyed Count (though the production suffers from the absence of frequent co-star Peter Cushing).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Marvelously atmospheric film, with terrific music, strong performances, and a clever script. The opening sequences, with a visiting Monsignor learning that no one will go to the church anymore, since Dracula hung up one of his victims in the bell tower, are tense and involving. The Monsignor's idea ,to free the villagers of their fears by exorcising Dracula's castle, leads to a very dramatic sequence of the two clergymen struggling for hours up an increasingly difficult mountain climb, with the alcoholic priest becoming more and more frightened. The first sight of the castle, sitting ominously on a mountain top, is quite impressive. The scene of the Monsignor arriving at the deserted castle, lit with unwholesome greens and yellows, and some creepy low angle shots, augmented by some awesomely threatening music, is one of the best in the whole picture. With booming thunder almost drowning out his Latin incantations, the stalwart Monsignor reads the service of exorcism, and places a large golden cross on the doors. Meanwhile, the fearful priest flees in terror from the fury of the lightning and thunder, and inadvertently causes the very thing that he most dreads to happen: the return of Count Dracula. This is such a powerful beginning, that the rest of the film almost has to be a slight letdown, but there are many well done sequences, ranging from Dracula's evil deeds, to humorous and bawdy scenes of students in a tavern, and sensuous, tender love scenes. The story always holds the viewer's interest and gives Christopher Lee some great scenes. The only real complaint is that Dracula doesn't appear in longer and more vivid scenes. But the movie is so entertaining overall that this is a fairly minor quibble. Highly recommended for vampire movie fans and Hammer enthusiasts. A movie well worth seeing, even if not quite as good as it could have been.
The folks at Hammer Film Productions were nothing if not passionate and
professional. This entry into the legendary series is only an
itty-bitty notch below their inaugural effort, the great "Horror Of
Dracula,' as the second best of the entire series.
Chrisopher Lee is at his menacing best. No one can drive a horse-pulled hearse with his fierce intensity. And those eyes, YIKES! What a great effect, one that still gets me 35 years after i first saw the film as a 14-year old in Los Angeles' San Gabriel Valley (and where I saw it on TV not 15 minutes ago).
Hammer vets Freddie Francis and Anthony Hinds create killer-diller fun with strong atmosphere; eerie, colorful lighting and a solid story. And the acting is great, too. Hammer staff composer James Bernard's exciting score adds to the enjoyment.
Hammer's films are for kids ... kids like me who loved then as a teenager and kids like me who are now over 50.
I am a huge Dracula fan. I've always loved the Christopher Lee version of Dracula. When I saw the first one Horror Of Dracula I fell in love with it. After that I saw Dracula Prince Of Darkness it was even better than the first one! After Prince of Darkness I went in order and watched ...Risen From The Grave and it was amazing!. In Dracula Has Risen From The Grave it leaves off from Prince Of Darkness when Dracula drowns under water. I was amazed how Dracula had just risen out of the cold frozen water. A local priest is put under Dracula's spell and goes bad. Dracula hides out in a local bar and preys on the the bar maid Zena. Zena as well as the priest is put under Dracula's spell and is soon asked to preform a task for Dracula. Unfortunately Zena fails her task for Dracula, and Dracula destroyed Zena and orders for the priest to burn her in the fire place. The gore and blood is very unrealistic which makes the movie easy to handle. I loved it and I think you will to.
Dracula is a pretty light sleeper, because apparently all it takes is a
little blood in the oral area to start a whole new movie. Through an
unfortunate coincidence, blood gets into the mouth of Dracula's dormant
body, trapped beneath the ice outside his castle, and voila--Dracula has
risen from the grave. Well, actually it's more like he rose from the creek.
I remember this most fondly of all the Hammer Dracula films, on a par with the original "Horror of Dracula". This episode in the decades-long Dracula series finds Drac ticked off at a local Monsignor who has placed a large crucifix on the doors of his castle. He's also "exorcised" the place, so it's not like Dracula can even slip in through a window or something. Irritated in every capacity, Dracula sets out for revenge. When he sees the Monsignor's lovely niece, he decides to victimize her--that way he can get his freak on AND get revenge at the same time. Clever!
"Dracula Has Risen From The Grave" features some of the best gothic horror sets I've ever seen, including several sequences that take place along the rooftops of the village. Simply gorgeous visuals, if a little campy at times. Christopher Lee is in top form, as usual, but it sure would have been great if they could have had him in the movie more (Chris's fee was pretty high around this time, so the later Hammer Dracula films began to feature him less and less). Terrific fun, especially late at night!
Released in the USA in the Winter of 1969, Hammer's "Dracula has Risen
from the Grave" was the fourth entry in the series and the third with
Christopher Lee in the title role. Here's a list of the nine films for
Horror of Dracula (1958); The Brides of Dracula (1960); Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966); Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968); Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969); Scars of Dracula (1970); Dracula AD 1972 (1972); The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973); and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974).
"Dracula has Risen from the Grave" suffers from a weak prologue and first act. The prologue takes place a year prior to the main story. The first act involves two priests hiking up to Dracula's castle to exorcise it. One of the priests unwittingly resurrects the count and the vampire wants revenge on the other priest whom he discovers blessed his abode. The final hour involves Dracula going after his niece in a neighboring village. The niece's boyfriend and the priest must defend her.
Like I said, the whole first act isn't very promising, but things perk up with the introduction of the niece's boyfriend, Paul, and the pub his dad runs. Barbara Ewing plays Zena, the redhead waitress at the pub, and the film shows the close relationships between Paul, his father and Zena. The characters ring true and it draws the viewer into their world. Excellent job on this front.
A great scene takes place when Paul's girlfriend, Maria (played by the stunning Veronica Carlson), takes Paul to her home to introduce him to her mother and the priest, who's a Monsignor (whatever that is). Paul is cornered in a conversation and forced to reveal that he doesn't believe in God. The Monsignor is initially offended and rude, but this can be excused on the grounds that he's the father-figure to his beloved niece; besides there's a warmhearted scene later in the film where the Monsignor proves his loving nature.
Another unusual highlight of the film are the multiple scenes that take place on the labyrinthian rooftops of the Victorian village. I can't help but wonder how they accomplished this. Were they really filming on the rooftops of a village or is it an illusion accomplished through matte paintings or other effects? I'm sure it's the latter; regardless, it's excellent film work and a unique feature of this film.
Of course, Hammer films are renown for their curvaceous women and here we have two: Redhead Barbara Ewing as the very likable Zena, and Veronica Carlson, who can also be seen in the outstanding "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed".
As with most of Hammer's horror flicks, the movie possesses a beautifully lush, Gothic atmosphere.
Despite the weak first act, the positives noted above compel me place "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" as my second or third favorite of the series. My favorite being "Taste the Blood of Dracula."
The film runs 92 minutes and was shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, England.
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