Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) is the 3rd sequel in the Hammer horror series of movies featuring Christopher Lee as the Count. Christopher Lee experiences ups and downs as he cements his legacy as the count. For the most part, it is not his fault. Often, a weak script puts Lee at a disadvantage. Christopher Lee has proven several times over that he can handle both the elegant and menacing aspects of the character. As usual, this sequel rehashes a tired resurrection cliche. Appropriately, a misplaced trickle of blood causes The Prince of Darkness to spring back to life.
Hammer Horror and Dracula’s Resurrection… Again
The story begins in a Balkan village where woman’s body is found in a bell-tower. She exhibits Dracula’s trademark bites of upon her neck. Flash forward a year, the villagers refuse to go to church because the shadow of Dracula’s castle engulfs the church. Coming in fresh, the viewer may not realize that the events of the previous film take place during this flash forward. In defense of the church, Monsignor Ernest Muller and a fellow priest set off to drive the devil from the castle and restore order.
Dracula Rises From the Grave – A Familiar Resurrection
The pair climb the mountain to the castle. After a brief exorcism ritual, the door to the castle is barred with a golden cross. A storm brews, and out of terror the priest falls upon the final resting place where the Count was killed at the end of Dracula: Prince of Darkness. The priest’s head, gashed and bleeding, drips blood upon the ground. Consequently, the blood trickles into the Counts Dracula’s waiting mouth. The blood restores Dracula to life.
Thinking he is victorious, Muller reports to the town that he has saved them from evil, when in fact he has done quite the opposite.
The Plot Thickens
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave stars the stunning Hammer horror scream queen Veronica Carlson as the beautiful Maria Muller. Being the niece of the Monsignor, she is the target of Dracula’s revenge. Paul is the standard strapping young Hammer hero that ultimately saves the day. Paul professes to be an atheist. This displease the Monsignor, but also plays a role in the finale.
As Paul plunges a stake into the Count’s heart, his lack of faith prevents this from being a death blow. The Count retreats back to his castle and commands Maria remove the cross from the door. She tosses it into the rock below. Paul pursues the Count for a final fight. Paul bests The Prince of Darkness, throwing him over the cliff and impaling him on the golden cross. The priest, whose blood started it all, recites a final prayer which finally kills the vampire.
Just Another Blueprint from Hammer
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is a standard Hammer horror movie. It follows the standard story arc of Dracula pursuing some girl for some reason. This time the reason is revenge. This story does nothing to advance the mythology Dracula, or vampires in general. There is no Peter Cushing playing the ever persistent Van Helsing. This was a money grab to fill the doldrums of slow summer.
Yet, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is not terrible. But, it also isn’t special in any way. If Grave came on cable television on a rainy Sunday and you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t hate yourself for watching it. But you also probably wouldn’t run off an write 600+ word review of it either. As far as Christopher Lee and his portray as the Count is concerned, he gets the job done, but it precariously teeters on the edge of farcical. This all culminates in Dracula Rises From the Grave being an average archetype for Hammer. Those that love Hammer horror will not be disappointed.
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) - Solid Hammer Horror - Malevolent Dark
Director: Feddie Francis
Date Created: 1968-01-01 00:00