OCTOBER 5, 2007
You gotta love a movie called The Brides of Dracula that features as many references to Dracula in the film as it does in the title (for you math wizards, that’s ONE). Now I know where Soisson and Lussier got the nerve for their idiotic, almost entirely Dracula-less Dracula 2000 sequels.
Not a bad flick though. I haven’t seen too many Hammer films (not even their Christopher Lee-starring Dracula, which this film is technically a sequel to), but the ones I have are all pretty similarly paced: not a lot happens for 80 minutes, then there’s a big finale with a fire or explosion, and then the film ends immediately once the villain is dead, without a single word uttered from the heroes to wrap things up. I love that. If I am watching a horror movie, I want to see horror. Once the vampire is dead, there won’t be any more horror, so why drag on? Ever see the show Smallville? The villain of the story always dies/is captured with like 15 minutes to spare, and then the rest of the episode continues in Return of the King-style fashion, with ending upon ending delivered without any of the excitement we tuned in for. Plus the show sucks.
One thing I liked about this movie is that there were a lot of female roles. Even in the standard scene of someone ending up at a spooky castle, there is no Count, only a Countess (who delivers the unintentional howler “We had gay times... balls...”) and some female servants, one of whom looks like what I suspect Sandra Bullock will look like when she’s like 60 or so:
Peter Cushing, as Helsing, is his usual dry self, but since he’s a lot younger here than most of the movies I am familiar with him from (such as Star Wars), it’s nice to see him actually doing some physical action. The finale has him jumping off ledges and such, and it’s totally him most of the time. Also, gotta give the movie props for two ideas I haven’t seen before: One, Van Helsing being bitten and cauterizing the wound himself with a hot poker and holy water (more physicality on display from Cushing here), and also using a windmill’s blades to make a giant cross that kills the vampire guy. Sweet!
Like many of the Hammer movies, the film is quite colorful, and the lavish sets are still impressive. It’s nice to know that there was a time when the people who made horror movies actually took the time to make their film look GOOD. This year’s Dead Silence was one of an increasingly rare number of modern horror films that were actually worth watching again simply to marvel at the aesthetics (all the more impressive when you consider Dead Silence was from the same guy who made Saw, a film that one may be tempted to take into the shower with them).
This movie is on a set with seven other Hammer films, though none of the big titles are on it. Anchor Bay has (or at least had) the rights to several others, but as far as I know there is no collection available. Still, 20 bucks for eight films (all of which have widescreen transfers – take THAT, Mill Creek!) is a hell of a deal, especially if the others turn out to be as well done as this.
What say you?