Thursday, 4 May 2017

Hammer: Brides of Dracula

Last night I watched The Brides of Dracula which is another Hammer horror film and well its the sequel to The Horror of Dracula which I reviewed recently. It in some ways is a strange sequel particularly when you realise that despite having the name Dracula right there in the title doesnt actually feature Dracula at all. So if this films not about Dracula then who and what is it about and what makes it a sequel? Well Peter Cushing returns from the previous film once again playing Doctor Van Hellsing and thats what ties the films togther. At one stage apparently the film was going to be called Disciple Of Dracula which I actually think would have been a better title for the film as the Brides are not really the main Villian of the piece or what the focus point of the film in general.

So in my review of the first Hammer Dracula I talked about how well Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing worked alongside each other and thats sort of the downside of this film. Peter Cushing gives a fabulous performance once again but there isent really anyone around him who comes even close so it really is a one man show. Dont get me wrong Cushing acted the living crap out of the role, I dont fault a single line he utters or movement he makes the man is an acting legend and once again he puts on a motion picture acting master class but it just doesnt equal the previous film as there isent the same feeling of it being an equal battle and the same sort of on screen chemistry. I will try not to spoil to much of the plot but I want to go back to what I said about the brides not being the main antagonists of the piece. The main Villian is actually played by an actor called David Peel and is a character called Baron Meinster, who and I say this more because of the possible title than anything I noticed in the film is apparently a disciple of Count Dracula. Now anyone who has watched a lot of horror and vampire films will instantly be able to tell you that not all Vampires are equal or actors for that matter. No offense to David Peel but he is a poor subsitute for Christopher Lee, Baron Meinster apart from possibly one scene largly comes across as a cardboard cut out monster, in my oppinion you could have lifted him straight out of the film and dropped anyone dressed as a vampire in to his place and given them some simple instructions, Cushing tottally carries him (and the whole film).

I know some people might have issues that this whole review has just become a piece in which to praise Cushing but heck its my review, watch the film and see what you think.  I just feel that Cushing had really gotten the role of Van Helsing and made it his, he had become the character and knew how he would act and what he would say. The ending to this film originally was going to be that all of the vampiresare killed by a swarm of bats released straight from hell via a black magic  ritual. This ending was rejected by Peter Cushing, who said that Van Helsing would never resort to using black magic, that it didnt fit the character and I have to admit that I do think it would have been tottally out of context and well jaring to see this version of Van Helsing do something like that (Hammer did stow the idea away and use it in a latter Vampire film). To me this is the mark of a good actor, one who gets a real feel for the characters they play and begins to breathe real life in to them and make them more than just an image on the silver screen. So I guess I will leave things here, its not a bad film, in fact it is enjoyable, heck if you like Cushing you will proberbly love it, it just doesnt compare to the first entry in the series.

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