If there is one thing that Dracula Prince of Darkness proves it is that vampires can be scary without saying a word. Continuing on from the previous film this is an extremely well made sequel from Hammer that delivers lots of vampire action and some real scary scenes when Christopher Lee makes an appearance.
10 years after the events of the first film, the Kent’s find themselves forced to take refuge in Dracula’s Castle despite the warnings given to them. Here they come across Klove who is unknown to them a servant to the deceased Count. However, it doesn’t stay that way for long as the Kent’s unwittingly help Klove bring his master back to life. With one of them dead and the other a vampire, the two survivors flee the castle and seek refuge from Dracula’s wrath. This leads up to one last confrontation with Dracula which isn’t quite as good as the climax of the first film.
The visual effects all speak for themselves really. The blood is much the same as the first film, but maybe a little better. The best use of the effects though comes during Dracula’s resurrection is ugly, scary and impressive not to mention soaked in blood. Dracula like last time has an exceptionally pale face which adds a bit to the character since he is basically a walking corpse. The fangs are really something to behold. Sharp and pointed they are the kind of fangs that most vampires tend to get when they are actually being taken seriously.
The acting is simply superb in my opinion. Christopher, returning as Dracula, takes over the screen whenever he appears without ever actually saying a word. This performance recalls Max Shreck’s in the silent film Nosferatu. It’s only at the end that you realize that he completely dominated the screen without a single line of dialogue. Barbara Shelley plays the female vampire Helen who to be perfectly honest I found a little annoying at times. It’s just something about her performance doesn’t fit well alongside Christopher Lee. Andrew Keir is just grand as Father Sandor who is almost as good as Van Helsing. Charles and Diana, played by Francis Matthews and Suzan Farmer, are both great main characters, but there’s nothing really special about them. Philip Latham provides some menace before Dracula is resurrected and doesn’t over do it during his dialogue sequences. A character a little like Renfield appears under the name Ludwig (Thorley Walters) who isn’t half as interesting as Renfield despite serving a similar role to him.
With a chilling story, nice effects, and Christopher Lee taking his performance as Dracula even further, this is one of those Hammer sequels that doesn’t fall prey to the silly conventions of the more camp sequels. You just might have a taste for more silent vampires after viewing this excellent film.