Saturday, November 7, 2009
Day 262: Brides of Dracula (1960) - Rank 4/5
Over the years, Dr. Van Helsing has undergone as many permutations as Dracula. In Tod Browning's adaptation, Dr. Van Helsing is played with scholarly finesse by an aged Edward Van Sloan. Anthony Hopkins portrayed the doctor in Coppola's adaptation as an eccentric, dancing the fine line between insanity and brilliance. Jack Gwillim devoured the scenery as the vampire hunter during his brief role in "The Monster Squad." Hugh Jackman...um...no. But when it comes to Peter Cushing, I believe my friend Dave put it best when he said, "It's a Van Helsing you can root for." Cushing's Van Helsing is an action hero who relies on his intellect, reminiscent of Indiana Jones.
"Brides of Dracula" follows where "Horror of Dracula" left off. Dracula is dead, but his legacy continues through the Baron Meinster. The baron has been imprisoned for most of his life by his mother, the Baroness (Martita Hunt). But when young Marienne visits the castle, she takes pity and unlocks the Baron. The result is a trail of female corpses that later rise as vampires and take their place by the Baron's side. But as fate would have it, Van Helsing is in town and has no qualms about killing women.
Cushing is absolutely delightful, and Hunt is equally enjoyable, casting an impression of both elegance and impending doom whenever she appears on screen. The film also features a sequence where Van Helsing is bit and must overcome this obstacle if he's to defeat the Baron. I won't mention the outcome, but needless to say, it's the first time I've regarded Peter Cushing as a badass.
Watch the Trailer