Dracula Has Risen from the Grave, made in 1968, doesn’t add very much to the Hammer Dracula cycle in terms of content. It’s really just another retread of the same old story. Monsignor Ernst Muller decides it’s time to exorcise Dracula’s castle and seal it up with a cross on the door, and sets off with the parish priest to do so. Unfortunately the priest unwittingly revives the vampiric count. Dracula, understandably miffed at having his lodgings dealt with in this way, is out for revenge on the monsignor. Despite its lack of originality it does have the usual virtues of Hammer films – the gothic atmosphere is well done, and it looks good. In fact it’s a fairly stylish production – director Freddie Francis shows plenty of flair, especially in the many scenes that take place on the rooftops of the village. Francis and cinematographer Arthur Grant make skilful and imaginative use of colour. The scenes in the bakery in the cellar, with lots of sickly greens and unhealthy reds, are extremely effective. Christopher Lee givers his usual performance as the Count – there’s not a lot of subtlety in it, but it works. And the Hammer films always came up with interesting ways of dispatching the Count at the end of each film. This movie is however definitely a disappointment after the previous Hammer Dracula movie, the excellent 1966 Dracula, Prince of Darkness.
While Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is moderately entertaining, it’s a pity that such a stylish and visually interesting entry in the cycle couldn’t have had a bit more effort put into the story.
6 out of 10