Review of “The Brides of Dracula” (1960)

from IMDB

Saturday pizza and bad movie night. Yummy pizza, with a bit of nice doughy crust. Thanks, Dominos! And, of course, Svengoolie.

Plot:

Student Teacher Marianne Danielle (Yvonne Monlaur) is on her way from Paris to a new job teaching at a girls’ school in Transylvania. When they stop at an inn for a meal, a shadowy figure pays the coach driver to abandon her, which he promptly does. No rest for the poor horses. And there’s no room at the inn.

Fortunately (heh) for her, the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt) stops in to harass the local varlet innkeepers and order a glass of wine. Upon hearing of Mlle.’s predicament, she offers the hospitality of her castle.

The innkeeper’s wife pulls on her husband’s sleeve. “Johann, find a room for the girl.”

Mlle. Danielle declines their sudden invitation and goes home with the Baroness.

The Baroness’ castle is full of candelabra, garish interior decorating, and only one servant, Greta (Freda Jackson). While Marianne is getting ready for dinner (getting ready with what? She doesn’t have any luggage), she looks out her balcony and sees a young man (David Peel) in another room. He doesn’t appear to be a servant, and, well, he’s not hard on the eyes.

When she asks the Baroness about him, she tells her most of the truth. Yes, there is a young man. He’s her son, who is “ill,” and whom she keeps locked up.

Of course, Marianne reacts to the idea of a young man being locked up—chained, no less—with the requisite compassion and brings about disaster that Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) has to take care of. He finds her lying in the woods the next day and escorts her to the school where she was about to start teaching. Such a gentleman.

Thoughts:

There is some enjoyable creepiness in this movie, but there is no Dracula. In fact, it’s never made clear how the vampire became a vampire. I loved both Martita Hunt’s portrayal of the Baroness and Freda Jackson’s portrayal of Greta, who is more than just a cook and chief bottle washer. Peter Cushing was enjoyable as Van Helsing. David Peel made a great vampire, mixing both the victimhood of an abused son with the predatory vampire unleashed later on.

The big disappointment was the ending of this movie. Van Helsing receives a non-lethal vampire bite, which he cures (I’m no making it up) by cauterizing with hot coal applied to his neck and then splashing holy water over it. Within seconds, not only does the bite disappear, so does the burn. The stuff they teach you in vampire-hunting school, I guess.

The only thing more ridiculous is the method he chooses to dispatch the vampire. I won’t give it away. Suffice to say that if the Baron had taken a couple of steps to the left or right, he’d be free to suck another day. Another night.

And what is it with hiding out in abandoned mills? Do supernatural killers all read from the same scripts? If so, they really should read to the end. Especially the minions, because the endings turn our particularly bad for the minions.

Which brings me to Mlle. Danielle. She is the character we’re supposed to sympathize with, and she’s just not the sharpest tool in the shed. Good thing there’s Van Helsing to come along and save the day, or we’d all be deep in the good stuff. Helpless maiden? EGAD! Clueless maiden.

Overall, this is not a bad movie if you’re looking for a bit of fun. The end…I just wish they’d come up with a different ending.




Title: Brides of Dracula

Directed by
Terence Fisher

Writing Credits
Jimmy Sangster… (screenplay) &
Peter Bryan… (screenplay) &
Edward Percy… (screenplay)
Anthony Hinds… (uncredited)

Cast (in credits order)
Peter Cushing…Doctor Van Helsing
Martita Hunt …Baroness Meinster
Yvonne Monlaur…Marianne Danielle
Freda Jackson…Greta
David Peel…Baron Meinster

Released: September 5, 1960
Length: approx. 1 hour, 25 mins

Published by 9siduri

I have written book and movie reviews for the late and lamented sites Epinions and Examiner. I have book of reviews of speculative fiction from before 1900, and short works in publications such Mobius, Protea Poetry Journal, and, most recently, Wisconsin Review and Drunken Pen Writing. I'm busily working away on a book of reviews pulp science fiction stories from the 1930s-1960s. It's a lot of fun. I am the author of the short story "Always Coming Home," a chapbook of poetry titled "Sotto Voce," and a collection of reviews of pre-1900 speculative fiction, "By Firelight."

4 thoughts on “Review of “The Brides of Dracula” (1960)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: