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Fright Fest 2018: The Brides of Dracula (1960)

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I have fond memories of watching the original Dracula as a child. I wasn’t actually supposed to watch it, but I crawled out of bed and slithered down the hall like a creep, so that I could see the living room TV and catch bits and pieces of the strangely sexy, strangely funny film. 

Brides of Dracula, although released nearly 60 years ago, is completely new to me. I didn’t even realize that it was technically “Dracula 2” until I did a little research before watching. 

I chose this as my movie to review because I MISS VAMPIRES, there I said it! As a writer in the thriller and horror genres, I feel like vampires have gotten a bad rap over the last few years and I really want more vampire books and movies in my life. I also liked the word “Brides” in the title – anything that contains female villains is my jam. Is this film a feminist’s dream come true? I don’t know, probably not. But there were some fabulous females in this film and they truly made the movie, in my opinion. 

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This movie wasn’t quite what I expected it to be (I admit: I was sort of hoping for crazed female vampires running amuck and ripping men to shreds, but one can only wish for so much!). Despite that, I must say: I loved this movie and would watch it again. And for the record: there are female vamps in this movie and they didn’t disappoint.

I have only one big complaint, so I’m going to go ahead and get that out of the way: WHERE THE HELL WAS DRACULA?!!!! Yes, I’m serious – the original Dracula isn’t even in the movie at all. But don’t let that discourage you from watching. I actually liked Brides of Dracula better than the first one! However…I kept waiting for him to show up, and just so you know: he never does.

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I guess I don’t give the 60’s enough credit, because I was truly surprised with how well-done this movie was. The sets were amazing—the whole movie had this atmospheric, misty, dream-like quality to it. Less like a dream and more like a nightmare, really! Gothic castles, misty forests, eerie old mill houses…classic horror doesn’t get better than that. The acting was superb, in my opinion. I loved the makeup and the costumes and even the loud, screechy music. And I really enjoyed the plot itself. The film is so weird (but in a good way), and it was well put together. There were quite a few jump scares and twisty surprise moments that I really enjoyed and appreciated in the film. The characters were clever and surprised me many times with their fast-thinking actions and witty dialogue.

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So, here’s what it’s about: there’s a new vampire in Transylvania and he’s inherited the Dracula curse—Baron Meinster. But Meinster’s mother is smart enough to know her own son, so she keeps him chained up in the castle. When Marianne Danielle, a new young teacher gets abandoned by her driver, she finds herself at the Meinster castle (don’t do it, Marianne!!!!) and she accepts the Baroness’s offer to stay for the night. (Of course she does…. *sigh*). When she sees the handsome Baron, she is shocked to find him chained up (as he should be! He bites women!). But she succumbs to his charm and agrees to find the key to unlock him. As you can imagine, this is a huge mistake and the Baron not only gets his revenge on Mommy Dearest, but he collects other young female victims along the way…Lucky for Transylvania, the vampire hunter, Van Helsing is on the case. Will Marianne become one of the vampire brides…? Well, you’ll have to watch and see. 

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Hands down, this is one of the best, if not THE best, vampire movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a beautiful, nightmarish film, that really took me by surprise. It’s a must-see for all vampire, and specifically Dracula, fans! Even though the original guy who played Dracula was missing, I still have to give it 5 stars. It was so damn fun to watch. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do it!!!

Carissa Ann Lynch is the USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Flocksdale Files trilogy, Horror High series, Dark Legends, Searching for Sullivan, Things Only the Darkness Knows, Shattered Time, 13, Grayson’s Ridge, and This Is Not About Love. She resides in Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Learn more about her books at CarissaAnnLynch.com and follow her blog at www.carissaannlynch.wordpress.com 

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2 responses

  1. Great review!

    Hammer Films had it going on. A lot of the sane people involved with the Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing starring Dracula films Hammer produced were also involved in the series of films based on Frankenstein the studio made around the same time, beginning with Curse of Frankenstein, my absolute favorite Frankenstein film to this day.

    If you’re not familiar with the Hammer library, I also recommend their version of The Mummy, Curse of the Werewolf ( their only venture into cinematic lycanthropes, but it’s an absolute stunner) and a terrific B movie programmer titled The Reptile. Hammer had a way of casting top notch character actors in even their B movies and that, combined with the gorgeous Technicolor and atmospheric sets always set their horror apart from that of most other studios.

    October 17, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, DS. I LOVE Hammer’s version of The Mummy. It ranks #2 to the original The Mummy with Boris Karloff.

      October 17, 2018 at 8:22 pm

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