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Dracula Has Risen From the Grave

Yep, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. Sure, he's done it before and he'd do it several more times after this 1968 Hammer release… but this one spells it out in the title, letting us know exactly what we're in for. It's a standard-issue Hammer flick, gorgeous to look at with deep shadows and rich colors, slow as molasses, and not especially scary. After about 20 minutes of lumbering exposition involving superstitious townsfolk and a foolhardy monsignor determined to cleanse Dracula's castle of evil (again), a slumbering Drac (Christopher Lee) gets a smidgeon of blood on his lips (again) and springs back to spooky life. He proceeds to enslave a hotsy-totsy local barmaid and then goes after Maria (the jaw-droppingly beautiful Veronica Carlson), the monsignor's niece. However, her blandly handsome boyfriend (Barry Andrews) has other ideas and goes mano a mano with the bloodsucker in a final showdown. The fourth in Hammer's seemingly endless line of Dracula films, this was Lee's third appearance in cape and fangs — in typical Hammer fashion it's all about atmosphere with the barest hint of soft core S/M, as opposed to the "big scare" horror films that would come a few years later. The blood all looks like red poster paint, there are scenes that seemingly jump from day to night and back again due to continuity errors, and there are logic-holes that defy comprehension (at the beginning of the film, a comely lass is found sucked dry by a church bell-ringer, but Dracula's been snoozing for a year … so, um, huh?) But Lee is a spooky, seductive Dracula, and the charms of his voluptuous victims are displayed to great effect, so just sit back, turn off your brain, pop open a bottle of O Negative, and enjoy. Warner's DVD release offers up a clean, rich-looking anamorphic transfer (1.85:1). The monaural Dolby Digital audio (English or French, with subtitles in English, French or Spanish) is fine — clean but unexceptional, as befits a Hammer film. The delightfully cheesy theatrical trailer is on board, too. Snap-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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