Warner Home Video presents
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
"Something about a man with burning eyes, staring at her."- Paul (Barry Andrews)
Stars: Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson, Barbara Ewing, Barry Andrews, Ewan Hooper
Other Stars: Michael Ripper, George A. Cooper, Marion Mathie
Director: Freddie Francis
MPAA Rating: G for (violence, gore, horror images)
Run Time: 01h:32m:05s
Release Date: 2004-04-27
DVD ReviewThe first wave of Hammer horror films consisted of the originals, while the second was made up of the early sequels that capitalized on their success. A third wave began with this film, with an increased emphasis on gore and sexiness, opening the doors for the floodgates of both in the fourth wave of the early 1970s. And of course, Christopher Lee returns as the vampiric title count, cementing the association between himself and the role in the public's mind.
In 1905 Monsignor Ernst Muller (Rupert Davies) comes to the village nearest Castle Dracula only to find the people still in terror of the vampire, killed (again) at the end of Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1965). The Monsignor goes up to the castle to perform an exorcism, but his priest companion (Ewan Hooper) accidentally revives the vampire and comes under his thrall. Desiring revenge for the despoilment of his sanctuary, Dracula sets his sights on Maria, the Monsignor's niece (Veronica Carlson).
This was the fourth Hammer Dracula picture, and the third to star Christopher Lee as the Count. The rule of thumb is that as the series goes on Lee appears less and less, but he's already hardly in this movie. The few scenes he does have are suitably intense, however, and he brings a greater physicality to the role than he had in his previous two outings. Much of the rest of the cast seems to be just walking through their paces, although Ewan Hooper's seduced priest manages to get some good scenes as he struggles with the will of the vampire. Veronica Carlson doesn't get much to do other than romance her boyfriend Paul (Barry Andrews) and be under Dracula's spell.
Even though the film keeps strict continuity with its immediate predecessor in terms of finding Dracula right where we left him in Prince of Darkness, the rules relating to vampires are completely in flux. The plot point of the last film regarding vampires being unable to enter without being invited is completely disregarded this time round, while now staking a vampire isn't enough: you have to also say a prayer over them. This seems to be just a device to increase suspense, since Paul is an atheist and is unable to bring himself to say the necessary prayer after staking Dracula. This is intriguing nonetheless as one of the few horror films to actually take atheism seriously, so I'm not taking off points here.
Freddie Francis isn't quite up to the directorial standards of Terence Fisher, and the pacing tends to drag without purpose. The middle in particular sags and becomes dull thanks to far too much village tomfoolery and traipsing about on the rooftops. Fifteen minutes probably could have been judiciously snipped and improved the whole. Not until the last reel or so does a sense of urgency infuse the proceedings, making the whole rather a flaccid exercise. The revival of the vampire is pretty implausible even for those willing to accept a high quantity of silliness. On the other hand, the finale is impressively bloody and memorable, as is the opening sequence featuring a blood-drenched body in the church belfry (despite the fact the source of the dead body is never quite explained). This does have the distinction of being one of the most gory films ever to win a 'G' rating, back in the days when the MPAA was fairly liberal. If resubmitted today it would probably garner a PG-13 rating.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.78:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: As usual, Warner provides a mildly cropped 1.78:1 version of this 1.66:1 British film, but no great violence is done to the compositions and I didn't notice tight headroom at all. The print is practically immaculate, with vivid color (especially during the psychedelic title sequence) and plenty of detail. The picture is somewhat grainy but quite filmlike, without visible edge enhancement. Quite lovely indeed.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The 1.0 mono sound is mediocre, with a goodly amount of noise and hiss throughout. However, dialogue is quite clear at all times, so that's a fairly minor beef. James Bernard's score, heavily based on the medieval Dies Irae, sounds quite good, with a brassy sheen and decent bass extension.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 23 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: The sole extra is a gorgeous trailer, presented in anamorphic widescreen format. Chaptering is acceptable.
Extras Grade: D+
Final CommentsA passable entry in the Dracula series, with a beautiful video transfer and acceptable sound. Nothing more than a trailer for extras, however.
Mark Zimmer 2004-04-28