For many years after becoming one of the definitive movie Draculas in the 1958 Hammer Films classic Horror of Dracula (in which he was pitted against Peter Cushing as Dr. Van Helsing), Christopher Lee refused to reprise hi... more »s role as filmdom's most infamous vampire. He finally returned to the role in this belated 1965 sequel, once again directed by Hammer studios veteran Terence Fisher. It's not as effective or as intelligently written as the earlier film, but it has become a minor classic in its own right for horror connoisseurs, notably due to the combination of eerie atmosphere (a Terence Fisher specialty) and violence that was, by mid-'60s standards, quite bloody and graphic. Indeed, the story begins when Count Dracula's servant revives his master by hanging an unsuspecting victim over the tomb containing Dracula's ashes and draining the blood from the unlucky fellow so it can trickle into the tomb and restore life to the remains of the undead vampire! It's this kind of unholy communion that was a trademark of Hammer horror, and Dracula: Prince of Darkness continues with all the requisite ingredients--including a group of tourists who arrive at the count's secluded castle just in time to feed his insatiable bloodlust! True horror fans will appreciate the performance by Hammer regular Barbara Shelley, widely considered to be one of her best. So, file your fangs and enjoy Lee in his most famous and immortal role! --Jeff Shannon« less
"The 4 star rating is for the quality and presentation of the DVDs, not the movies themselves. I am a huge Hammer fan and I am building up a collection. These seemed like a deal I couldn't pass up, so I will pour out the facts about this new set so you can make an informed opinion. For reviews of their plotlines, actors and the rest, it would be best to look up these movies by their seperate titles or at the links given below by this website.The good news about the DVDs:
*Two movies at a good price!
*Chris Lee (and others) commentary on Prince of Darkness!
*Large nice quality poster postcards inside of both films! They have the chapter stops on the other side of them.
*5 minutes of Behind The Scenes footage on Prince of Darkness with commentary by Chris Lee (and others!)
*House of Hammer short called "Dracula and the Undead," mainly clips from Hammer films with vampires in them but very cool, never seen a scene from Vampire Circus, so now I want to check that out!*Both movies are gloriously uncut! The Bad News:
*Widescreen ratio is smaller than average, which is disappointing. More so on Prince of Darkness...I think Satanic Rites was bigger, more the standard letterbox form.
*Films tend to jump a little. I have no idea if this is the original print of the film, the DVD or my player...or a bit of all three. It doesn't happen often enough for me to really complain about it since I have VHS versions of these which are much worse as far as film quality. Scenes "skip" a 1/3 second or so, such as in Prince when the woman gets out of the carriage. Happens about 5-6 times in the whole set.
*Hammer extra on Satanic Rites is the same "Dracula and the Undead" on the other DVD. So you get the same show twice. I guess that is ok if you are lending one of the DVDs out...but I would think they could have put on another House of Hammer.
*Holders for the DVDs tend to smack into each other and since they are both double sided DVDs (not one sided,) I worry about them getting scratched. They do come off the center without much effort, compared to the Midnite Movie ones you basically have to pry off, almost breaking the DVD in the process! Overall, a good effort. 4 Stars. Could have been 5 if there had been commentary on both films, no jumping of the frames and two different Hammer specials. But for the price, you really can't beat it. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to get a taste (heh) of what Christopher Lee's Dracula character is like and wonderful insights into the world of Hammer Films."
Vito Skywalker | Hawaii United States | 05/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For owners of high-definition televisions, be warned that this is merely presented in widescreen format and NOT anamorphic widescreen format.
Because this is out of print, some private sellers are asking for exorberant amounts for this. Be forewarned. I purchased it from a seller who offered it at a reasonable rate. I'm trying to complete my Hammer Films collection and "Dracula: Prince of Darkness" is a must. (I'm not a big fan of the "Satanic Rites of Dracula," but it's nice to have that, as well.) But I thought it was enhanced for widescreen televisions before I bought it and I was wrong.
I give this four stars because Anchor Bay didn't offer these films in anamorphic widescreen. While that is very disappointing, I'm still happy to own it."
A Note about the DVD
Ham Tyler | 05/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very good film from Hammer. My issue is with the print they used for the anchor bay DVD release. The color is off. When they have shown this film on Turner Classic Movies, they show a different print. The color is deeper and richer. If you check the end of the film, the print used on cable was originally distributed by Warner-Pathe. The print on the DVD was originally a 20th Century Fox Distribution. Anchor Bay(or SOMEONE) should release the Warner-Pathe version on DVD. It is a big improvement visually."
mikkel carlsen | Aarhus, Denmark | 03/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the third and best instalment in Hammer's Dracula-series, it ignores the second one and continues where the first one left off. Actually, knowledge of any of the other movies is not required at all, each one of them a ritual reviving the important elements, this one being the most ceremonial. The main theme seems to be the disproportion between rationality and sexuality, the former represented by Victorian morals, the latter by the vampire, stoic nobleman and hissing animal in one, he comes off as a diabolic high-priest of passion. Thus the beautiful Barbara Shelley, who enters Dracula's castle together with her boring husband, is transformed from uptight pedant to sexy vamp in lingerie, the actress mastering both roles accordingly. The scene in which she begs the heroine to let her in because "it's cold out here", sniveling like a child, but truly menacing at the same time, is one of the iconographic highlights of the genre."
Dracula: Prince of Darkness
A. Ross | New Zealand | 04/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dracula: Prince of Darkness is an oddity in the progression of the Hammer movies. It follows the formula religiously, of course, but it is radically distinct from The Horror of Dracula. By removing the film from the confines of Victorian England and by changing the savant into robust Andrew Kier rather than slender Peter Cushing, Dracula: Prince of Darkness FEELS different from The Horror of Dracula even though it really isn't different at all. This is the third of Hammer's Dracula films and the second to star Christopher Lee (Lee declined a part in Brides of Dracula, fearing that he would be typecast). Lee cements his position as Lugosi's heir to the part here, despite having no dialogue. The screenplay reportedly had Dracula uttering lines like, "I am the apocalypse!" which Lee refused to speak aloud on film (and really, who can blame him?). Lee's cultured voice was a rich part of his performance in the first film. Its absence here is disappointing, but Lee's PRESENCE still dominates the film. Despite minor flaws, a classic slice of Hammer Horror history."