The Brides of Dracula is a 1960 Hammer Films Production movie that is the first in a long line of sequels to the 1958 classic, Dracula. Although the links here are tentative (there is no Dracula in it), Peter Cushing reprises his role as Van Helsing & the main villain is a disciple of the prince of darkness.
“Transylvania, land of dark forests, dread mountains and black unfathomable lakes. Still the home of magic and devilry as the nineteenth century draws to its close. Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires is dead. But his disciples live on to spread the cult and corrupt the world…”
The movie opens showing Marianne Danielle (played by Yvonne Monlaur) arriving in a small village in Transylvania. Marianne is there to take up a post as a school teacher but is left behind by the coach driver. The locals seem desperate for her leave but when the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt) arrives, Marianne agrees to spend the night at her castle.
While on her rooms balcony, she sees a man in another room. This surprises her because she was told no-one else was in the castle. She asks the Baroness who informs her that the man is her son & he is kept locked up because he is insane.
Later, Marianne spies the Baron Meinster (David Peel) look like he is about to attempt suicide. She cries out to him getting his attention & the two converse. Marianne, believing now that it is the Baroness who is insane, sneaks to his room & frees him from his chains.
It turns out that the Baron Meinster is a vampire, turned by Dracula himself & now he is free he wants Marianne as his vampire bride. Luckily for her, the legendary Van Helsing has arrived in town.
What Brides of Dracula lacks in the actual Dracula department it makes up for in other entertaining ways. The story is exciting & the main characters are believable. Peter Cushing is fantastic in the role of Van Helsing but David Peel also excels as the vampire Baron. He exudes threat, enough that you wonder if Van Helsing may have actually met his match here!
Like most Hammer movies there is an element of silliness to the it too. The speed in which Marianne falls in love with the Baron Meinster is laughable. She literally has one conversation with him & decides that he’s not insane & that she should free him. Once the Baron reveals himself, she takes a backseat role letting the showdown between the vampire & Van Helsing take centre stage.
The effects & make-up are cheap looking & the brides of the Baron are as cheesy as you can get!
The Brides of Dracula has a very satisfying conclusion & although the middle portion is a bit slow it’s a very entertaining watch. One of the better Hammer horror movies.
The Brides of Dracula
The Final Score - 7/10