For this week’s Halloween selection I returned to the Hammer Horror films and watched the first two sequels to Christopher Lee’s Horror of Dracula.

Wednesday Halloween Double Feature - Hammer's Brides of DraculaIn the Brides of Dracula, we have Mariane Dannielle traveling to her new job teaching at a girls’ finishing school in the heart of Transylvania. She’s abandoned by her driver at a small inn. There she is taken in by the Baroness Meinster (played by Yvonne Monlaur) who takes her to her castle. At the castle, she meets the baroness’s son, who the Baroness keeps imprisoned. Mariane falls in love with him immediately and frees him.

However, we discover he is a vampire and disciple of Dracula who quickly begins a reign of terror turning beautiful women into vampires. It’s a good thing Professor Van Helming (Peter Cushing ) is on the scene to save the day.

This was… okay. I especially liked the presence of Moniaur as the Baroness and of course one can’t get enough of Peter Cushing. But Baron Meinster comes off as a cheap knock-off of Dracula.

And while the villain it defeated both of the brides escape.

Wednesday Halloween Double Feature - Hammer's Dracula: Prince of DarknessNext, we have Director Terence Fisher and Christopher Lee return in Dracula: Prince of Darkness. 

It’s been seven years since Van Helming killed Dracula. We meet some Brattish tourists who are touring the Carpathian mountains. They are abandoned by their driver before the sun sets (see a pattern here?} and take shelter in the Castle Dracula where food and rooms have been prepared for them by Dracula’s servant Clovis.

This turns out to be a trap and Clovis uses one of them in a blood sacrifice to raise Dracula and once Dracula rises he turns another into a vampire.

I liked this one better than the last one. Christopher Lee as Dracula has great screen presence though since two-thirds of the film are dedicated to bringing Dracula back the amount of screen time feels anticlimactic. Especially since he’s dispatched easily in the end by being drowned in a moat.