Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Terence Fisher
Cast: Peter Cushing, Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur
When Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur) frees the captive Baron Mienster (David Peel), she unwillingly unleashes all hell…or, just one really bad vampire. One way or the other, village people begin dropping like flies, and the charming Baron Mienster is responsible. Fortunately for our naïve female lead Marianne, the wise Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) arrives just in the nick of time. After assessing the situation, Van Helsing quickly determines there are vampires to blame for the mysterious deaths. It’s not long before the good Doc also realizes the mysterious Baron Mienster is the culprit. After the Baron has recruited a few attractive young ladies to join him in his life of vampirism, Van Helsing cuts all plans short by tracking the Baron down and feeding him a fatal dose of Holy Water.
Cushing is wonderful as the visiting hero Van Helsing, and Yvonne Monlaur is perfectly oblivious in the unsuspecting female lead. Peel’s performance is half charming, half cheese ball, convincing as a prisoner, and awfully hammy as a vampire (but I admit, I do like it!). Martita Hunt provides a creepy performance as Baroness Mienster, the young Baron’s mother. Though unintentional, Hunt actually provides a certain fear factor herself. This woman either intentionally deprived herself of sunlight in preparation for the film, or she was some kind of recluse, as she could nearly pass for an albino… and that’s while her character was still ‘one of the living’! Despite a few good performances, Freda Jackson all but steals the show as the maniacal housekeeper/vampire guardian, who admittedly is a tad frightening looking herself.
Though the scares are minimal, the sets are lavish, the acting is solid, and the score is genuinely eerie. There are tense moments, frightening moments and a few classic tongue-in-cheek moments to fill out the platter. Cushing and Jackson are superb, and both equally convincing in their performances. Released in 1960, The Brides of Dracula is tame, but definitely one of the more enjoyable Hammer releases.