SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! SPOILER ALERT!
One year has passed since Dracula was defeated in Dracula: Prince of Darkness. A Monsignor visits the village that was once terrorized by Dracula, only to discover that the villagers still live in fear of the vampire. The local priest has lost his faith and the villagers don't attend the church for mass because “the shadow of his castle touches it”. In order to end their fear of the long since gone vampire, the Monsignor climbs to Castle Dracula to perform an exorcism. In the process of the exorcism the priest, who climbed part of the way with the Monsignor, falls and hits his head and at the same time cracks the ice which Dracula lays frozen in. Unbeknown to the Monsignor, who is still conducting the exorcism, blood from the priest's head spills into Dracula's lips and re-awakens him. Dracula wastes no time in hypnotizing the priest into being his servant, and begins his reign of terror once again (obviously).
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave is a 1968 Hammer production and is the sequel to 1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness. It marked Hammer's 4th film in their Dracula series. It stars Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies and Veronica Carlson. It was directed by Freddie Francis.
Upon looking up the poster for this film's review I discovered it had several, several of which were made with a comical design. The reason for this is beyond me, it's not like the film is made with a comical approach, it's a straight forward horror like all the rest. But the advertising campaign was somewhat comedy orientated. This was done by adding comical taglines to the poster these include, “You can't keep a good man down!”, “I always said he had plenty of get up and go!”, “Boy does he give a hickey!” and adding (obviously) after the title Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. The other comical poster has a photograph of a woman, who has clearly been bitten by Dracula, with two elastoplasts on her throat.
Another thing that confuses me about this film is the rating. It got rated G for the general public. It's a Dracula film, you know, for kids. Though I wouldn't say its suitable for kids at all. I wouldn't say there's as much violence as in the previous Dracula films, thinking in particular to that of Dracula: Prince of Darkness and it's controversial throat cutting scene, but there is still some. A couple of scenes in particular include one scene where Dracula gets stabbed with a stake whilst sleeping in his coffin to which masses of blood oozes out around the stake. Then there is the climactic ending, which I'll get to in a bit. It will continue to bewilder me as to how this film passed for a G rating, it wouldn't pass for a U rating now, in fact the DVD is 15 rated, so how on earth did it pass for a G rating back in 1968?!
The climactic ending is brilliant, if it weren't for the ending I would have been rather disappointed by this film, it's not bad but it in no way is as good as it's predecessors. But the climactic ending is brilliant, it has to be the best death Dracula gets in the entire Hammer series (as far as I can remember). He falls from his castle and lands on a giant golden cross which pierces right through his back and out of his chest. To which he begins bleeding from his eyes when the priest starts praying, then eventually he perishes and all that's left is the cross, a puddle of blood and his cape. The only thing that could have made this scene even better is if Peter Cushing's Van Helsing had been in it, but as is it's still really good.
I think practically everyone in this film was hammy and melodramatic. Hell, I'd say the entire cast overshadowed Christopher Lee by their collective of hammy acting. The story isn't great, and all in all this isn't the best Hammer Dracula that I've reviewed so far, in fact out of the 4 it's probably the worst, not to say it's terrible because it's not, but I find the other 3 to be so much better. But again, I have to say the ending improved my opinion of the film considerably. It's an average Dracula film and is worth watching even just for the ending.
Dracula Has Risen From The Grave 3/5 (obviously)