Plot: What’s it about?
Monsignor Ernest Muller (Rupert Davies) wants to ensure the forces of evil remain at bay, so he seeks to exorcise Dracula’s castle. Dracula (Christopher Lee) is entombed in ice in a creek near the castle, so he is of little danger at the time. So Muller brands the castle’s entrance with a cross, which he hopes will keep the vampire’s powers vanquished. But his plan is foiled when a young priest (Ewan Hooper) revives Dracula from the creek and by his mistake, is pulled into the dark service of Dracula himself. The vampire stalks into Muller’s town with a hunger for blood, which he intends to satisfy with beautiful young women. He preys on a barmaid and other lovelies, then he sets his eyes on the woman he wants most of all. A gorgeous woman named Maria (Veronica Carlson), who also happens to be Muller’s niece. This means time is short and Muller has to find a way to protect his niece, which is no simple task. As Dracula seduces a path toward his ultimate victim, Muller races to line up a plan to end Dracula’s reign of terror. He turns to Maria’s boyfriend Paul (Barry Andrews), so he isn’t alone in his battle with the undead. But even with his new help, can Muller manage to defeat Dracula himself?
This is a Hammer production that stars genre icon Christopher Lee, but does Dracula has Risen from the Grave live up to its potential? As much as I wanted to be wildly entertained, I have never been that impressed with this movie. I’ll sit down and watch it, even add it to my collection, but this is more out of loyalty than dedication to the film itself. I never tire of seeing Lee, especially in perhaps his most famous role (until The Lord of the Rings, that is), but even Lee isn’t up to snuff here. Well, I should say he is misused, as his performance is good, but he isn’t given enough screen time and that lessens the experience. After all, when you see Lee’s name involved in a horror movie, especially a Hammer production, you want him on screen as much as possible. Instead, his presence is not that frequent and as a result, the film suffers. When Lee is seen, the movie is enjoyable, but once he is gone, so does the entertainment. The story is thin, like numerous Hammer productions from around this time, the original magic is hardly evident. There is some decent atmosphere too, though nothing like what Hammer could once conjure up. Even so, for Lee and Hammer devotees, Dracula has Risen from the Grave is worth a look. I can’t recommend a purchase outside of the diehard genre fans, but a rental is more than worthwhile.
Video: How does it look?
Dracula has Risen from the Grave is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid, but flawed visual presentation that should please fans, though some cleanup work would have been appreciated. The print has some nicks at times, as well as grain in a number of scenes, though never to an extreme level. I found colors to be a tad faded, but still bright enough and flesh tones were natural on the whole. I saw no troubles in terms of contrast either, as black levels seem well balanced and no detail loss is visible. Aside from some expected tolls of time, this is a solid treatment and it should satisfy fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono option is better than expected, but retains some of the expected flaws of an older mono soundtrack. There is no hiss to report, but a few small instances of muffled audio can be heard, though nothing too serious. And for a movie of this vintage, I was more than satisfied with the conditions of the materials, to be sure. No problems in terms of dialogue either, as vocals come through in fine fashion, while the excellent musical score is clean, never held back much by the limits of the soundtrack. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, just in case you might need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.