Let’s go back in time.
Brides of Dracula is part of a Hammer Classics box set (can you guess what the next theme of reviews is going to be?) and this one is considered a bit of a cult classic.
We follow Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur) as she is travelling to take up a job as a teacher. As she travels alone, the carriage stops (and abandons her) at a small town where people seem fearful of the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt), and why they are isn’t clear other than we know this is a vampire movie. The Baroness seems to be the nicest person Marianne finds, and demands she stay with her. Marianne learns that the son of the Baroness (David Peel) is being held captive. Seduced by him, Marianne frees the Baron and he promptly kills the Baroness before fleeing.
It is important to note here that Marianne may be one of the most profoundly unaware characters in film. When she later meets Baron again (as he wants her blood) she seems to forget that he killed the Baroness. I suppose you could argue she may have just thought the Baroness happened to drop dead at that exact moment and he left for reasons—but this is a bit of a stretch.
Everyone in the film is kind of dumb. Even Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) can’t elevate the film as he is so stiff, he seems out of place. The vampires aren’t scary, and they mainly just stand around. The fake teeth are laughable, and the whole thing inspires chatter from the viewer.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a reason this has a cult following and it is because it is a ton of fun. Fans of older films will appreciate the care in the set design. The colors and costuming (sans teeth) are great and this really is a classic horror film.
Can Van Helsing save Marianne in time? Will the Baron seduce her? Will the jackass school owner get what is coming to him? You can probably predict all three of these answers, but this is one of those films that doesn’t let the predictability detract from the enjoyment. It is utterly ridiculous, fun, and worth watching with friends.
This is a clunky and cheesy film that has somehow aged more like wine than anything else.