Brides Of Dracula (1960) 5/5
There is actually no Dracula in this, but the name sells, so the title is justified by the early explanation that, though Count Dracula is now dead, (this follows the film Dracula, 1958), his disciples live on to spread the cult of the undead around the world. Thank God that they didn’t have social media back then.
Paris schoolteacher Marianne Dannielle (Yvonne Monlaur) is on her way to take up a post at a Girl’s Academy, when she foolishly accepts an invitation by the Baroness Meinster to stay at her chateau.
Danielle discovers that her son, Baron Meinster, is kept in chains there, mental illness being the reason given. Danielle frees the Baron from his shackles, and unwittingly unleashes a vampire upon the local population, his first victim being his own mother. Psychiatrists would have a field day with that.
Blind to all this, Danielle escapes the chateau and is rescued fortuitously by Dr Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) who has been summoned by the local priest.
Soon the Baron is visiting the Girl’s Academy, to become engaged to the still unwitting Danielle, and also to feast upon the nubile pupils. Not necessarily in that order.
A scene which caused great shock is when Van Helsing is bitten. The great Peter Cushing defeated? No worries-he awakens to heal himself with a hot brand and some holy water. I much prefer a coffee and an hour to come around.
The Baron is eventually defeated in a novel (and unconvincing way), covered by the cruciform shadow of a windmill. I’m sure he could have just stepped out of the shadow. Ancient evil personified in the form of this blood-sucking nefarious creature of the night. Destroyed by a windmill.
Cushing is always convincing as Van Helsing, and David Peel does an okay job as the vampire Baron, but he’s no Christopher Lee. But then again-who is?