Director – Terence Fisher (The Gorgon, Island of Terror)
Starring – Christopher Lee (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies), Barbara Shelley (Village of the Damned, Doctor Who), and Andrew Keir (The Night Visitor, Late Night Horror)
Release Date – 1966
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “The world’s most evil vampire lives again”
I’m a stupid man and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I know the world works in different ways than I think it should be ran but I often find myself scratching my head. Movies are my life so when I come across a series of films I often try to add them all to my collection to watch during a rainy day. Hammer horror series has been a bit of a struggle. Some movies were released by one company while others were released by a completely different company. The Hammer Dracula series is one of those situations. Warner Brothers has released a few of the films while Scream Factory has released the others.
I recently reviewed the first film in the series, Horror of Dracula, which was recently sent my way from Warner Brothers. The following two films, Brides of Dracula and Dracula Has Risen from the Grave was previously released on blu by Warner Brothers as well. The next film in the series that was sent my way is the fourth installment, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, was sent my way from Scream Factory. A bit of a head scratcher I know but as a completionist I needed them for my collection regardless of who released them.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows two couples on holiday when they visit a castle after their coach drops them off in the middle of the woods. The castles servant Klove informs the four guests that the owner, Dracula, has passed many years before and he was instructed to help any guests that would venture beyond the castle doors. What the four are unaware of is that Dracula, the vampire, is still walking the halls of the castle looking for fresh blood so he can be fully resurrected. **Spoiler Alert**
Dracula: Prince of Darkness is one of the few Hammer movies I remember bits and pieces of but don’t remember much else about it. This could have been because it was so long ago that I last watched it or maybe it was in the middle of my marathon and I was somewhat tired the first time around. Regardless, I enjoyed this entry in a beloved series.
The acting in this one is solid and fits in with most of the other Hammer horror productions. The cast is fun but the lack of Christopher Lee, like many of the Dracula films, is a bit disappointing. He is such an amazing actor and having Dracula ride the backseat is a bit strange especially in a Dracula film.
The story for this one is another fun entry for the series but if you really think about the film as a whole it feels like it could be the opening 20 minutes to a much more epic Dracula film. The story is stretched very thin but still is able to hold the viewer’s attention.
Finally, those of you that have seen any of the previous Dracula films from Hammer then you know these are not gore soaked films. We get some blood here and there but the beauty of the film is the gothic sets and the wardrobe. Fans of gore will be disappointed but those looking for a period piece horror film with some great atmosphere will be satisfied. Overall, Dracula: Prince of Darkness is another solid entry in a legendary series but it does feel a little bit forgettable. The blu looks great and the best looking blu so far in the series. The Warner Brothers Archive Collection looks good but this Scream Factory entry looks fantastic. Fans of Hammer or collectors of Scream Factory will want to add this one to their collection.
Two Versions! The UK Version And The U.S. Version
NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive Of The US Version From The 20th Century Fox Vaults
NEW Audio Commentary With Author Troy Howarth
NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker Constantine Nasr And Writer/Producer Steve Haberman
Audio Commentary With Cast Members Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews, And Barbara Shelley
World Of Hammer Episode “Dracula And The Undead”
Back To Black – The Making Of Dracula: Prince Of Darkness
Super 8mm Behind-The-Scenes Footage