Dracula: Prince Of Darkness (UK 1966)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/26/19
Director: Terence Fisher
Cast: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Francis Matthews, Suzan Farmer, Thorley Walters

Christopher Lee returns as Count Dracula in Hammer's first sequel to "Horror Of Dracula" (1958). Four unsuspecting British tourists on holiday find themselves as guests at Dracula's spooky castle. All it takes is one blood sacrifice to revive the undead Prince Of Darkness, and once awakened, he sets his sights on the beautiful Barbara Shelley and the radiant Suzan Farmer. Francis Matthews and Andrew Keir take it upon themselves to destroy the fiendish vampire, with unsatisfying results.

It has all the trademarks of classic Hammer horror, but overall it's a disappointment. Barbara Shelley is lovely, but tends to be upstaged by a bright-eyed and audacious Suzan Farmer. Francis Matthews makes an unremarkable hero, and it's Andrew Keir who steals the show as Father Sandor. He delivers a strong and solid performance that lends an air of class to the production. Christopher Lee turns out to be a letdown, and his portrayal of Dracula is more atavistic and animalistic this time. There's no subtlety or sophistication at all, and he doesn't even have any dialog. He just grunts, hisses, and moans. Apart from a couple of shoddy miniatures and matte paintings, the film looks great and the sets and costumes are wonderful. While the climax is lame, the highlight of the film is the gruesome resurrection of Dracula, which showcases some dazzling visual effects. The music score is also delightfully moody. The film is generally considered the best of the Dracula sequels, but that's not high praise.