movie, movie review

January 15th, 2017 Movie -Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride (a.k.a. The Satanic Rites Of Dracula)

count-dracula-and-his-vampire-brides

I know last year was a pretty sad time regarding all of the celebrity deaths that happened, but 2015 had it’s fair share of tragic deaths too. Case in point, one of the stars of today’s movie, Christopher Lee. Now when he died, lots of my friends mentioned their favorite characters that he played and while several people commented on his recent roles of Saruman and Count Dooku, many of them commented about the many times he played Count Dracula. Today’s movie should especially be good because it is one of the many films that star Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. So let’s go ahead and see what is in store for us with today’s movie, Count Dracula And His Vampire Bride.

The plot: At a house in the English countryside, a Satanic ritual involving sacrificing a naked girl, is being performed in the basement. Upstairs in the main house, a wounded man is lying in bed while being kept under guard but he manages to kill the guard and escape the house. Two guards chase after him as the man heads towards the gate but someone in a car waiting outside the gate kills the two guards and once the man makes it inside the car, it takes off and heads to Scotland Yard. At Scotland Yard, the wounded man, who was a secret agent, begins telling them what he saw inside the house, saying he took pictures as proof before he dies from his wounds. As the ritual continues at the house, the officials look over the dead agent’s photos, noticing 4 highly prominent men that were taking part in the ritual. When they come to a 5th photo that shows an empty doorway, some of them believe the agent made a mistake but Colonel Mathews, the man in charge, says he will handle things. Meanwhile, Jane, the secretary who transcribed the dead agent’s report, is captured by some of the cult’s guards. Back at Scotland Yard, Inspector Murray is brought in to work on the case and he recommends bringing in Professor Lorrimar Van Helsing, who is a noted expert in the occult. Murray and Secret Service agent Torrence take the photos to see Van Helsing and his granddaughter Jessica and Jessica and Van Helsing recognize one of the men as his friend Julian Keeley, a noted bio-chemist. Murray decides that Van Helsing might have better luck getting information from Julian than an agent would so Van Helsing goes to see him, unaware that he is spotted by a cult guard. Van Helsing enters Keeley’s lab and finds him acting erratically, saying he must finish his project by the 23rd of the month. Meanwhile, a beaten Jane wakes up in a bed at the country house when Dracula enters the room, mesmerizing the girl before biting her. Back at the lab, Van Helsing learns that Keeley was working on the bubonic plague and when he questions him about it, is surprised by the cult guard, who shoots Van Helsing and gives him a glancing blow, causing him to pass out. When Van Helsing recovers, he finds Keeley’s body strung up from the ceiling and the containers of the plague are missing. Murray, Torrence, and Jessica head to the house and after telling Jessica to stay in the car, Murray and Torrence head up to the house to question Chin Yang, the owner who also happens to lead the cult. Meanwhile, Jessica sneaks into the basement of the house and sees several crates on the ground as well as Jane, who is chained to one of the walls. Jessica approaches Jane but Jane reveals that she is a vampire and tries to bite her. As the crates open and reveal more vampire women, Jessica screams out as the women surround her and try to bite her. Murray and Torrence hear her screams and head down to the basement and manage to rescue her but Torrence stops when he hears Jane calling out to him. Jessica tries to warn him just as Jane tries to bite her and Murray breaks off part of a crate lid to use as a stake to kill Jane, then the three make their escape from the house. Meeting back at Van Helsing’s house, Van Helsing, Murray, Torrence, and Mathews discus what all has happened. Mathews admits that his staff and efforts are hampered by Porter, a government minister who is one of the men involved in the cult. Mathews also says that the cult is somehow linked to D.D. Denham, a known recluse who funded Keeley’s research. Van Helsing says that the presence of the vampire women indicates that Dracula, who he had fought with and destroyed once before, is involved and says that the 23rd is the Sabbath of the Undead, which is a powerful day for the forces of evil. The next day, Jessica, Murray, Mathews, and Torrence go to check out the house during the day but Mathews and Torrence are killed while Murray and Jessica are captured. Meanwhile, Van Helsing makes some silver bullets and heads to D.D. Denham’s office and asks to see Mr. Denham and he is allowed up to his suite. Van Helsing reaches the suite and finds Denham sitting at his desk, shrouded in shadow. Van Helsing sits down and talks with Denham and discovers that Denham is Dracula and attempts to shoot him with a silver bullet but the other members of the cult stop him and capture him. They beg Dracula to kill him but Dracula chooses to let Van Helsing suffer and chooses to take him back to the house. At the house, Murray wakes up in the basement and is approached by Chin Yang, who tells her she needs his help. As Chin Yang continues talking, she mesmerizes Murray but he is able to snap out of it before she bites him and as the two struggle, he kills her with a stake to the heart. The other vampire women attempt to attack him but he fends them off by forming a cross with two pieces of wood, then turns on the basement’s sprinklers, and the falling water kills the women. Heading upstairs, Murray finds Jessica on the sacrificial table but is unable to rouse her then heads upstairs when he hears a car pull up. Dracula and the other cult members arrive with a captive Van Helsing and he is brought into the chamber with Jessica. Dracula tells Van Helsing that he will make Jessica his consort, then holds up the vial containing Keeley’s plague. He then says Van Helsing will join the other men as his Four Horsemen, who will carry out the plague and infect the rest of humanity. The cult members start to question Dracula’s use of the plague but he takes control of Porter and causes him to break the vial, infecting him with the plague. Meanwhile, Murray ends up struggling with one of the guards in the control room and during the struggle, the short out the computers, causing an explosion which opens to sacrificial room while also starting a fire in the house. Murray manages to rescue Jessica while Van Helsing escapes the burning room by smashing a window and climbing out, with Dracula following after him. Making his way through the woods, Van Helsing tricks Dracula into following him into some hawthorn bushes, causing Dracula to become entangled in the thorns. As Dracula tries to free himself, Van Helsing grabs a fence post and drives it into Dracula’s heart, causing the vampire to turn to ash and Van Helsing sifts through the ashes and retrieves Dracula’s ring.

This was a pretty interesting, and somewhat silly movie. The acting was ok, with Peter Cushing (Van Helsing), Michael Coles (Murray), and Christopher Lee (Dracula) doing good jobs in their roles, but I was a little disappointed because Christopher Lee was really only in the movie for 20-30 minutes at most. The story was good, although a little confusing at first with all the different subplots trying to go on at once. The little bit of special effects, mainly involving the girl who was sacrificed coming back as a vampire and her wounds healing, was ok but my biggest problem was the whole part of the sprinklers killing the female vampires. I know that one of the legends involving vampires is that they cannot cross running water, and of course holy water can kill them, but your ordinary water coming out of a sprinkler really shouldn’t have done anything to them, much less kill them. That aside, this is a pretty standard 70’s movie but is worth watching with some of Lee’s other Dracula movies.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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