Oct 282020
 

The Brides of Dracula isn’t the strongest of the “Dracula” movies or even monster flicks from Hammer Films, but it certainly is the most stylish with some rich production designs and Peter Cushing great playing Van Helsing.

 

 

The Brides of Dracula
— Collector’s Edition —
(1960)

Genre(s): Horror, Fantasy
Shout Factory | NR – 86 min. – $32.98 | November 10, 2020

Date Published: 10/28/2020 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Director: Terence Fisher
Writer(s): Jimmy Sangster, Peter Bryan and Edward Percy (screemplay)
Cast: Peter Cushing, Freda Jackson, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur


DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer, Still Gallery
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1


Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85 & 1.66
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.64 GB
Total Bitrate: 31.58 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3½/5


Plot Synopsis: Marianne (YVONNE MONLAUR), a beautiful young girl, is stranded en route to a teaching assignment in Eastern Europe. She is persuaded to spend the night at the nearly deserted castle of the mysterious Baroness Meinster (MARTITA HUNT). In the castle, Marianne accidentally discovers a man chained to the wall in his room. The Baroness explains only that he is her “sick and feeble-minded” son. Unable to get any further information from her or the maid, Marianne steals a key and sets him free. But once unbound, the man – Baron Meinster (DAVID PEEL) – fiendishly recruits the undead for his evil purposes while Marianne and Dr. Van Helsing (PETER CUSING) try to stop him.

Quick Hit Review: The Brides of Dracula is one of several monster features from Hammer Films and the second in their Dracula series which saw the return of Peter Cushing as Van Helsing but featuring a new Dracula as Christopher Lee declined to return as not to be typecast (although he would return in Dracula: Prince of Darkness which is available, along with Dracula 1958, on Blu-ray from Shout Factory).

What we get in The Brides of Dracula is at least an interesting and different take of the lore and starts off well enough with the age-old creepy castle and even unsettling performance from Martita Hunt. Peter Cushing meanwhile is in his usual fine element as Van Helsing. Also doing a good job, albeit not wholly distinguishable from many of the damsels in these monster-esque flicks, is Yvonne Monlaur. Where the film falters a bit for me is with David Peel as our “Dracula” technically speaking and… Peel isn’t exactly all that intimidating, kind of a problem for our primary antagonist.

So even taking the casting aside, I still found The Brides of Dracula a fairly entertaining entry in the Hammer Film library and it features some amazing production design from Bernard Robinson, a frequent collaborator with Hammer, also worked on The Mummy, The Curse of the Werewolf, The Kiss of the Vampire amongst many, many others.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4½/5


This release comes with a matted slip cover and the interior sleeve is reversible with the original poster artwork.

Audio Commentary – Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman and Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr. This pair has been a staple on other Hammer Film releases from Shout and make for an entertaining yet still informative listen, keeping things light and not sounding like a lecture (not that those tracks don’t have their value).

The Men Who Made Hammer: Terence Fisher (58:21) – The next chapter in this series of documentaries this time profiling the director of many of these Hammer Films with commentary from a film historian going through, albeit briefly, his upbringing and what he brought to the table with the company.

The Men Who Made Hammer: Jack Asher (16:24) is a shorter profile on the cinematographer and his unique style and look he brought to his films.

The Eternal and the Damned: Malcolm Williamson and The Brides of Dracula (15:22) – Featurette on the workings of the composer, his career and his score on Brides of Dracula.

Introduction and The Making of The Brides of Dracula (31:10) delves into the history behind the production and includes interviews with Actress Yvonne Monlaur, Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster, Assistant Director Hugh Harlow, Art Director Don Mingaye, Producer Anthony Hinds and many others involved. Really well made and nice to hear from those who were on the set or behind the scenes.

The Haunted History of Oakley Court (15:13) is on the castle located in Windsor, UK that has been used in numerous films.

Last up are a couple of Theatrical Trailers (4:06), an Image Gallery (7:26) and a Radio Spot (1:03).

 


VIDEO – 4½/5


Shout Factory releases The Brides of Dracula onto Blu-ray and has been given a new 1080p high-definition transfer, culled from a 2K scan from the interpositive. As with many of the other Hammer films released through Shout, this one looks fantastic, colors (which the screen captures don’t do it justice) is vibrant with a range of reds and purples giving the picture a nice pop. Beyond that, detail is mostly sharp losing a bit of detail on some distant shots but otherwise has good detail to them. There were no apparent or obvious flaws like dust marks or scratches while black levels are stark. The natural film grain is still present so doesn’t appear heavy DNR was applied.

AUDIO – 4¼/5


The film includes a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track which sounds quite good with dialogue coming across with fine clarity and despite being a singular source, there is some okay depth between the sound design and Malcolm Williamson’s great score.

 


OVERALL – 3½/5


Overall, The Brides of Dracula isn’t the strongest of the “Dracula” movies or even monster flicks from Hammer Films, but it certainly is the most stylish with some rich production designs and Peter Cushing great playing Van Helsing once more. This “Collector’s Edition” released by Shout Factory offers up excellent video and above average audio to go along with some good bonus material.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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