The Brides Of Dracula is a Hammer Horror directed by Terence Fisher and released in 1960 - two years after the original Horror Of Dracula. Although it is the first follow-up to Horror Of Dracula, some don't actually consider it an official sequel because of the absence of Christopher Lee as Dracula. This film was to be the only in the long-running Dracula series that did not feature Lee as the Count. Instead, it featured veteran Hammer actor David Peel as a disciple of Count Dracula. Lee, at this point, was worried about typecasting and would therefore reprise his role six years later in Dracula - Prince Of Darkness.
Opening with a shot of the dark woods, the film begins with a narration telling us that the Count himself is dead yet his disciples continue to live on and corrupt the land, spreading their vampirism.In order to prevent death and corruption, Baroness Meinster locks her evil son - the Baron Meinster (David Peel), a disciple of the deceased Count Dracula. But when her unsuspecting servant and a female guest accidentally release him, the free and dangerous Baron starts to prey on the blood of young women. Terrorizing girl-schools, he soon turns innocent ladies into demonic vampires of the night. Soon, however, Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), a trained vampire hunter, comes to the rescue and tries his best to stop the deadly disciple and his various 'brides'.
In a superbly highbrow ending - echoing the finale of Horror Of Dracula - Van Helsing and the Baron Meinster fight tooth and nail in the shadow of a moonlit windmill, with numerous evil brides surrounding them. The Baron eventually dies in a highly original death sequence, in which Van Helsing decks the Baron in Holy water and then pushes him into the shadow of the windmill, which Van Helsing then turns to form the shape of a giant crucifix.
Scriptwriting ConfusionAlthough Jimmy Sangster is usually credited with being the main writer for this particular Dracula film, some say that he co-wrote it with contemporary Hammer
scriptwriter Peter Bryan (who scripted the 1966 zombie classic The Plague Of The Zombies) and the somewhat mysterious Edward Percy (an unknown who may have actually been Peter Cushing). Furthermore, producer Anthony Hinds is also given credit - who has previously said that he had 100% cooperation in the making of this picture. Without knowing who did it primarily, it is only fair that credit goes to all four people.
The scriptwriter issues are evident in the final result. Unlike the superbly sparse script of Horror Of Dracula, The Brides' script is plodding in parts and, at times, very jumbled. Nevertheless, all these problems are resolved by a superb turn from Cushing as the heroic Van Helsing and a brilliantly-sustained gothic atmosphere from director Terence Fisher.
- Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing
- Martita Hunt as Baroness Meinster
- Yvonne Monlaur as Marianne
- Freda Jackson as Greta
- David Peel as Baron Meinster
- Miles Malleson as Dr. Tobler
- Henry Oscar as Herr Lang
- Mona Washbourne as Frau Lang
- Andree Melly as Gina
- Victor Brooks as Hans
- Fred Johnson as Cure