Item Information
Estimated Shipping 1 - 3 Days
Item Description
FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS $50.00 OR OVER!
Hammer’s DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS starring CHRISTOPHER LEE, BARBARA SHELLEY, ANDREW KEIR, FRANCIS MATTHEWS, SUZAN FARMER, CHARLES TINGWELL and THORLEY WALTERS

BONUS MATERIAL: FEATURE-LENGTH COMMENTARY ON AUDIO TRACK TWO BY STARS CHRISTOPHER LEE, BARBARA SHELLEY, FRANCIS MATTHEWS AND SUZAN FARMER

DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS was the third of Hammer’s Dracula films. Unlike the first sequel BRIDES OF DRACULA (1960), PRINCE OF DARKNESS brings back Christopher Lee who had refused to return to the series until he had established himself as a serious actor first (which may or may not be true---after HORROR OF DRACULA, he also did the genre films CORRIDORS OF BLOOD, THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH, THE MUMMY and THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. More likely, he simply wanted to be seen in other roles before returning to Dracula).

Christopher Lee who, while he returns, has no dialogue (although Lee claims this was his own choice because the dialogue he was given was so awful). Merely hissing and dilating his red contact lenses, this has the effect of making Lee’s Dracula much more animalistic – something that Lee conveys most effectively – and the net result is that the central threat in the film is like a tiger in a cage, prowling and roaring.

Certainly, many of the other elements come together well. The opening of the film – warnings to avoid the castle; villagers refusing to acknowledge its existence even though it sits in front of their eyes; travelers abandoned in the middle of nowhere and then the appearance of a mysterious black coaches harnessed to horses that have wills of their own; and the castle, which is conversely shown to be welcoming with dinner laid out and a fire stoked up, even luggage placed in their respective rooms – builds an increasing sense of unease. This erupts in a shock sequence where Charles Tingwell is stabbed and his body is hoisted upside down over the catafalque containing Dracula’s ashes and the throat slit to spill his blood, which brings the ashes to life. It is a conceptually remarkable sequence – one that created considerable controversy at the time, blasphemous inversions of The Crucifixion being seen in it and all – although today seems tame.

There are a number of good sequences interspersed throughout – notably the climax where Dracula runs out onto the ice and Andrew Keir shoots into it around him, causing it to crack and Christopher Lee to be swallowed up by the running water. The film is also happy to swipe the Renfield character out of Bram Stoker – calling him Ludwig – with Thorley Walters giving an amusingly doddery performance in the role.

The most remarkable sequence in the film is the scene where Barbara Shelley is held down on a table, hissing and writhing, as a stake is hammered into her heart by the dispassionate priesthood. It is perhaps the most potent image of sexual repression in all of British horror cinema. Indeed, DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, more than any of the Hammer Draculas, embodies the recurrent image of sexual repression threatening to emerge to tear Victorian society apart and its dispassionate elimination by men of reason. The travelers are deliberately set up as representatives of English genteel in order to be torn apart – the strongest image of this polarity is the turning of the prim, uptight and anxious Barbara Shelley into a voluptuous vampire, begging Francis Matthews “Give us a kiss.” The sexual overtones in the scene where Christopher Lee causes Suzan Farmer to kneel and drink from the cut he opens with his fingernail in his chest are incredibly vivid.

WIDESCREEN

All DVDs are MOD (made on demand) using archival quality DVD-Rs, with full color inkjet art on the discs and full DVD jacket art, in a standard DVD box. All DVDs are also in protective sleeves for the best protection of your new DVD as possible. Every DVD is guaranteed against defects. Thank you!