When Christopher Lee opted out of playing Dracula for this film, the first Hammer sequel to Horror of Dracula, we got David Peel (A BLONDE!) as another vampire Count. He’s no Lee, but he ain’t bad. Thankfully Peter Cushing returns as Van Helsing and lends his considerable gravitas to the film. When a schoolteacher unwittingly lets loose a debonair vampire from his castle, he quickly goes about putting the bite on some countryside cuties that in turn become bloodsucking beauties. Fortunately Van Helsing in on his trail. The scene where Van Helsing actually gets bitten is pretty shocking, but I’m not convinced you can cure yourself of a vampire bite by just cauterizing the wound. There’s an excellent windmill fight finale and director Terrance (The Curse of the Werewolf) Fisher balances the scares with the film’s romantic trappings nicely. It’s also one of the best looking of all the Hammer films and is definitely worth a look, despite the absence of Lee.