DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is one of the entries made before a creative drought started to enter Hammers Dracula series and is an occasion where all parties involved turn out on good form. Certainly, there is an undeniable silliness to the plot. Screenwriter John Elder introduces some spurious business about Dracula being able to pull a stake out of his heart unless it is hammered in by somebody with faith. One also wonders why Dracula is unable to simply get the priest that he puts under his control to remove the cross barring the door of his castle in the first place. And there is the petty revenge plot in all their Dracula sequels, Hammer could never find much for Dracula to do so had to keep inventing things like these petty revenge plots to keep him busy somehow revenge seems something that would be beneath Dracula. Christopher Lee, as usual, is not given much to do other than stand around, look evil and let his eyes turn red. Nevertheless, the script provides for some effective characterisation, creating an interesting debate between atheism and belief.
In his only entry in the Hammer Dracula series, Freddie Francis, one of the more underrated directors in the Anglo-Horror cycle, directs effectively. There is some silly business framing the edges of the lens in sepia tone. However, Francis does give a surprising sexual element to the film watch how perennial Hammer heroine Veronica Carlson opens her dress and passively awaits Christopher Lees arrival, or how Barbara Ewing (giving a spirited performance as a barmaid) pleads him to drink her blood instead of chasing after Veronica Carlson.
The sets are particularly good the exception being the frontispiece of the castle that looks like it is made of cardboard. Especially good are the rooftop sets, which are designed with a feel almost right out of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919) with jagged, angular chimneys, boiling fogs and all lit virtually in monochrome. In fact, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave is almost the antithesis of Terence Fishers approach Fishers sets are florid and sumptuously colourful, while Freddie Francis likes them washed out and stripped of all vividity to stark, neutral colours. It makes for quite an interesting contrast.
Hammers other Dracula films are: Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Brides of Dracula (1960), Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Scars of Dracula (1971), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula/Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride (1973), The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires/The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula (1974).
Freddie Franciss other genre films are:- Vengeance/The Brain (1962), Hammers Paranoiac (1962) and Nightmare (1963), Dr Terrors House of Horrors (1964), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Hysteria (1965), The Skull (1965), The Psychopath (1966), The Deadly Bees (1967), They Came from Beyond Space (1967), Torture Garden (1967), Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1969), Trog (1970), The Vampire Happening (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Tales That Witness Madness (1972), Craze (1973), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Legend of the Werewolf (1974), Son of Dracula (1974), The Ghoul (1975), The Doctor and the Devils (1985) and Dark Tower (1987).