Serial Thriller: Dracula — Prince of Darkness

Autumn has fallen and it’s time once more to celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear. Rainestorm finishes its horror trilogy and goes to the well one last time to highlight 31 days of spooky scares that season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween.

'Dracula: Prince of Darkness'

'Dracula: Prince of Darkness'

“Does that recipe call for half a cup or a quarter cup of blood?”

The charm: Christopher Lee returns as the undead count, despite having been turned to ashes in the previous episode. And you thought it was only modern movie monsters like Jason that were hard to kill. Peter Cushing is absent in this follow-up, leaving Andrew Keir as the reproachful Father Sandor to take up arms against the fiendish foe. The movie builds atmosphere and tension quite well. It’s forty-five minutes before the count makes his first appearance. The early scenes in Dracula’s castle, wherein four English tourists find themselves as guests, are reminiscent of William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill, all dark shadows and gothic hallways. Dracula is a mute this time around, uttering nary a word as he goes about his evil deeds. Prince of Darkness is a worthy heir to the Hammer original.

Focal point: Dracula’s resurrection is a beautifully grisly sequence.

Entrancing trivia: Much has been made of the fact that Dracula does not speak in this film, although popular legend has it that Christopher Lee found the dialog so atrocious that he refused to speak the lines.

Speak the words: “My master died without issue, sir… in the accepted sense of the term.”

Companion spell: The Kiss of the Vampire (1963). Another Hammer production but not part of the actual Dracula series. Both it and Prince of Darkness share a common first act, and Clifford Evans’s Professor Zimmer is virtually the same character as Andrew Keir’s Father Sandor.

Cursed by: The convenient expansion of vampire lore that allows Dracula to be vanquished by running water (I guess he never washed his hands).