Christopher Lee returns for his third turn as Dracula in director Freddie (The Evil of Frankenstein) Francis’ handsomely mounted but hopelessly empty vampire flick.
While I have always been partial to Hammer’s Frankenstein movies, I have to say that as far as vampires go; you can’t get any more badass than Christopher Lee. They actually gave him some lines in this one and while he’s quite menacing and authoritative in the lead, the rest of the movie is a turd.
The first and last ten minutes of Dracula Has Risen from the Grave works like gangbusters, but everything else in between is a bore. The biggest problem is that Lee is absent for too much of the movie. When he’s not on screen, the audience has to suffer through a bunch of stuffy Brits who parade around spouting endlessly about God knows what. At times, the film plays more like an episode of Masterpiece Theater than a down and dirty Dracula picture and the gratuitous innocuous romantic subplot really grates on the nerves too.
Also, the flick is rife with continuity errors. At one point, Dracula casts a reflection in a stream of water and we all know good and well that vampires don’t cast a reflection. In another scene, Dracula is clearly seen walking about in the daytime! That’s inexcusable. Didn’t anybody know anything about vampire lore before they sat down to write this mess?
Although the film is maddeningly slow for most of the running time, it does have it’s merits. In addition to Lee’s aforementioned performance, the flick has a few gory stakings, including an impressive scene where Dracula lands on a golden cross and features a couple of bosomy women getting bloody hickies from the good Count. The flick also has a great opening scene where a dead girl is found hanging upside down in a church bell, but unfortunately, nothing else comes close to matching it.
Lee returned in the next Hammer Dracula installment, Taste the Blood of Dracula, the next year.