Dracula Has Risen from the Grave

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Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
Draculahasrisen.jpg
US theatrical release poster
Directed byFreddie Francis
Produced byAida Young
Written byAnthony Hinds
StarringChristopher Lee
Rupert Davies
Veronica Carlson
Barbara Ewing
Music byJames Bernard
CinematographyArthur Grant
Edited bySpencer Reeve
Production
company
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
Warner Bros.-Seven Arts (USA)
Release date
  • 7 November 1968 (1968-11-07)
Running time
92 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is a 1968 British horror film directed by Freddie Francis for Hammer Films. It stars Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, with support from Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barry Andrews, Barbara Ewing, Ewan Hooper and Michael Ripper.

This was the fourth entry in Hammer's Dracula series, and the third to feature Christopher Lee as the titular vampire.

Storyline[edit]

Prologue[edit]

The story opens in 1905 in an East European village. A young altar boy (Norman Bacon) makes his way up to the bell-tower. He is about to ring the bell when blood drips on his cheek from above. He climbs into the bell chamber, where he discovers the corpse of a young woman crammed inside the church bell, another victim of Dracula.

Plot[edit]

A year later in 1906, following the events of the previous film, Dracula has been destroyed. Monsignor Ernest Mueller (Rupert Davies) comes to the village on a routine visit only to find the altar boy is now a frightened mute and the priest (Ewan Hooper) has lost his faith. The villagers refuse to attend Mass at the Catholic church because the shadow of Dracula's castle touches it. To bring to an end the villagers' fears, Mueller climbs to the castle to exorcise it.

Count Dracula and Maria Mueller

The terrified priest follows only partway up the mountain, and Mueller continues alone. As he exorcises the castle, attaching a large metal cross to its gate, a thunderstorm occurs. The priest flees, stumbles, and is knocked unconscious when his head strikes a rock. The blood from the head wound trickles into a frozen stream through a crack in the ice, and onto the lips of Count Dracula, reviving him. Mueller returns to the village, reassures the villagers, and returns to his home city of Keinenberg where he lives with his widowed sister-in-law, Anna (Marion Mathie).

Unknown to Mueller, Dracula takes control of the priest. Furious that his castle is now barred to him, Dracula forces the enslaved priest to reveal the name of the exorcist. The priest desecrates a coffin to provide a sleeping place for the Count, and leads Dracula to Keinenberg, where the Count determines to take his revenge on Mueller's beautiful niece, Maria (Veronica Carlson). Dracula enslaves Zena the tavern girl (Barbara Ewing). Zena almost succeeds in bringing Maria under Dracula's power, but Maria's boyfriend Paul (Barry Andrews), who lives and works in the bakery beneath the tavern, rescues her. Dracula punishes Zena by killing her. Dracula orders the priest to destroy Zena's corpse before she turns into a vampire, so the priest burns her body in the bakery ovens. The priest then helps Dracula locate Maria. Dracula climbs over the rooftops of nearby buildings, enters Maria's room, and bites her.

Mueller enters Maria's room just after Dracula has bitten the girl and pursues a fleeing figure across the rooftops. He is knocked down by the priest. Mueller makes his way back home, where his sister-in-law cares for him. He summons Paul, knowing that he will help protect Maria because of his love for her. He passes on a book, which contains the rites of protection against vampires and ways to defeat them, before he succumbs to his wounds. Paul enlists the priest, not knowing he is under Dracula's spell. Unable to break free from Dracula's influence, the priest attacks Paul one night as they watch over Maria. Paul defeats the priest, and forces him to lead the way to Dracula's lair. They try to stake Dracula through the heart, but the faithless priest and the atheist Paul are not able to say the required prayer, so Dracula rises and removes the stake himself. He kidnaps Maria and flees to Castle Dracula, pursued by Paul and the priest.

At the castle, Dracula orders Maria to remove the cross from the door. She throws it over the parapet into the ravine below. Paul fights Dracula on the parapet and throws him over the side. Dracula is impaled on the cross. The priest, freed from the vampire's influence, recites the Lord's Prayer in Latin and Count Dracula perishes, dissolving into dust. Reunited with Maria and having apparently regained his Christian faith, Paul crosses himself while viewing Dracula's remains.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

This Hammer Dracula production was shot at Pinewood Studios situated in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.

Notably missing are the approach road, coach path and moat seen in front of Castle Dracula in 1958's Dracula and 1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness. Those films were made at Bray Studios.

The film was photographed by Arthur Grant using colored filters belonging to director Freddie Francis, also a cameraman by trade, who used them when photographing The Innocents (1961). Whenever Dracula (or his castle) is in a scene, the frame edges are tinged crimson, amber and yellow.

Initially Terence Fisher was to direct the film, but dropped out due to illness; Freddie Francis stepped in.

In Australia, the film was the first Hammer Dracula to be passed by the censors; the previous films Dracula (1958) and Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) were banned. The film was slightly censored and ran for a three-week season at Sydney's Capitol theater in January 1970.

Critical reception[edit]

Howard Thompson of The New York Times wrote, "'Dracula Has Risen From The Grave.' Yes, again. And judging by this junky British film in color—asplatter with catchup or paint or whatever, to simulate the Count's favorite color—he can descend again."[1] Variety called the film "a tired episode," adding, "The story's slight, the horror and the bloodcurdling essential to these pix is minimal and even Dracula himself appears bored at being resurrected yet again."[2] The Monthly Film Bulletin of the UK was somewhat more positive, writing that the film was "rather short on shock sequences" but had "a nice gory opening" and "a suitably horrific finale."[3]

The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films called the film "a minor triumph of style over content", writing that the film "succeeds by virtue of Francis' adventurous direction".[4] The film currently holds 80% on Rotten Tomatoes.

DVD and Blu-Ray release[edit]

On 6 November 2007, the film was released as part of a DVD four-pack along with Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, and Dracula A.D. 1972.[5]

On 6 October 2015, the film was released on Blu-ray as part of a Hammer collection pack with The Mummy, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, and Taste the Blood of Dracula. It was also released on Blu-ray separately.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thompson, Howard (March 27, 1969). "'Dracula' Returns". The New York Times: 54.
  2. ^ "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave". Variety: 34. November 20, 1968.
  3. ^ "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 35 (419): 200. December 1968.
  4. ^ Hearn & Barnes 2007, p. 123.
  5. ^ Christopher Lee (Actor), Peter Cushing (Actor) (2007). 4 Film Favorites: Draculas (Dracula A.D. 1972, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, Horror of Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula) [4 Film Favorites: Draculas] (Motion Picture DVD). Burbank, California: Warner Home Video. ASIN B000U1ZV7G. ISBN 9781419859076. OCLC 801718535.

Sources[edit]

  • Hearn, Marcus; Barnes, Alan (25 September 2007). "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave". The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films [The Hammer Story] (Limited ed.). Titan Books. p. 192. ISBN 978-1845761851. OCLC 493684031.

External links[edit]