The fourth Hammer Dracula movie and the third to star Christopher Lee, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave was released in 1968.
Directed by Freddie Francis, it see Christopher Lee reprise his role as Count Dracula. With a supporting cast that includes Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barry Andrews, Barbara Ewing, Ewan Hooper and Michael Ripper.
Picking up a short amount of time after the events of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. The vampire was encased in ice in the moat around his castle where he remains. Don’t worry about that for now though as Dracula Has Risen from the Grave opens with the random reveal of another Dracula victim pre-getting iced.
The movie begins properly by introducing Monsignor Ernest Mueller (Rupert Davies) who visits a small village situated near Dracula’s castle. Here he finds all sorts of problems including a priest (Ewan Hooper) who has lost his faith and villagers who won’t go in the church because it’s in the shadow of the vampires castle.
Muller decides to go to Castle Dracula and exorcise it so the villagers will feel safe and drags the local priest along. However, his fear gets the better of him leaving Muller to make the remainder of the trek alone.
Once at the doors of the castle, Muller begins his exorcism causing a thunderstorm to occur. Undeterred though, he continues and completes the exorcism. Further down the path though, the priest tries to flee once the storm starts. He falls and is knocked unconscious when his head hits a rock. A rock that is conveniently situated above Dracula’s frozen corpse.
Blood from the priest’s head drips down the rock, through a crack in the ice and into Dracula’s mouth. The vampire is revived and he enslaves the priest wanting to know who exorcised his castle.
Muller has since left the village to return to his home city and Dracula decides to pursue him. Once there, the vampire sees he has young niece named Anna (Marion Mathie) and decides to take her as his victim.
The story is a stretch, a real stretch even more so then usual but there’s no denying Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is a very entertaining watch. Like all of these movies, the gothic visuals and location are wonderful but it’s nice to see things freshened up with the story moving to a big city.
It’s not as aesthetically pleasing but it means we do at least get some variation in what is ultimately another Dracula film.
As always, the cast are strong and Christopher Lee commands the screen as only he was capable of. This man could make anything interesting although it has to be said, he does seem a little tired of the Count a few times.
What makes Dracula Has Risen from the Grave worth sinking your teeth into though is how gory (for the 1960s) the film can be. The finale in particular is shocking and the death of the Count here is one of the best of the series overall.
Of course, you can’t keep a good vampire down and Dracula would return for Taste the Blood of Dracula two years later. That’s a review for another time though.
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave