Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dracula: Price Of Darkness - 3.5/5

Technically Dracula: Prince of Darkness is the third film in Hammer's Dracula series. The second entry The Brides of Dracula actually did not feature Dracula at all and instead followed Peter Cushing's Van Helsing character as he hunted a different vampire. The best thing about this third entry however is that has the return of Christopher Lee as the despicable count.

Ignoring the second entry, Dracula: Prince of Darkness picks up ten years after the first film Horror of Dracula. It even has a slightly cheesy flashback sequence in the beginning explaining the events of the first film inside a circular shape with a smokey border. We are then introduced to two couples vacationing in the mountains of Carpathian, stomping grounds of Drac. They are warned by a gun-totting monk to stay away from a castle that isn't even featured on their map. Do you think they will obey? Fuck No! They better not or else we wouldn't have a movie.

Of course the couple ignore the monks warning and take a mysterious carriage to Dracula's castle where they are greeted by a creepy servant. This is a little plot hole compared to the first film as Dracula had no servant where here he mysteriously does. The servant invites them in, sacrifices one guy to resurrect Dracula (who was turned to ash previously) and then, you guessed, havoc ensues. Don't expect the action to move fast though as Dracula doesn't show until nearly half way through the film.

Overall this is a decent entry into Hammer's Dracula series. It's not near as good as the original but then again I didn't expect it to be. For a sequel though, it isn't bad. The acting is top, the costumes are great and the colors are lush. My few complaints include the fact that Dracula doesn't speak. Apparently Christopher Lee didn't want to reprise the role so one of the stipulations he demanded is that he would not be required to speak. Despite this he still has a menacing presence. Another problem is the lack of Van Helsing. Peter Cushing's Van Helsing was the perfect villain for Dracula and the film-makers no doubt tried to make the gun-totting monk his replacement. The monk talks warnings and such but he can't compare to the mighty Peter Cushing. Another problem is the poorly scripted, somewhat rushed ending which is left open for another sequel entitled Dracula Has Risen From the Grave.

Written By: Eric Reifschneider

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