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Vintage Horror Classics: Dracula [2 Discs] [O-Card Packaging] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • Bram Stoker's Dracula documentary
  • Classic movie trailers:
  • Dracula - 1931
  • Dracula's Daughter - 1936
  • Son of Dracula - 1943
  • House of Dracula - 1945
  • Horror of Dracula - 1958
  • Brides of Dracula - 1960
  • Dr. Blood's Coffin - 1961
  • Kiss of the Vampire - 1963

Synopsis

Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride
The final installment in Hammer Studios' Dracula series is also the least interesting of the lot. A fairly direct follow-up to Dracula A.D. 1972, this sequel finds the Count (Christopher Lee) developing a potent strain of bubonic plague which he and his devil-worshipping disciples plan to release from 1970's London to wipe out nearly all life on earth. His efforts are challenged once again by the dedicated Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), leading to a rather uninvolving climax. Despite the always-welcome presence of Lee and Cushing, this installment plays too flagrantly with the time-honored Hammer Gothic formula, giving Dracula actual dialogue and surrounding the leads with a dull, amateurish supporting cast -- with the possible exception of Joanna Lumley (later of BBC-TV's Absolutely Fabulous). This also marked Lee's final performance as the Count and signaled the beginning of the end for Hammer's horror heyday. Also known as Satanic Rites of Dracula and Dracula is Dead and Well and Living in London. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

Grave of the Vampire
This dark, violent British production stars Michael Pataki as a brutish vampire apparently lacking in Dracula's powers of seduction, since he finds it necessary to brutally rape a young woman (Kitty Vallacher) in order to sire a child. The product of this unholy mating is a half-human, half-vampire baby boy, bottle-fed on the blood of his now-insane mother (a truly sickening sight) until her eventual death from anemia. Later as a young man, the son (William Smith) is able to spend short periods in daylight, and his bloodlust is considerably lesser than that of his father. Tormented nevertheless by his evil condition, he curses his bloodline and defies his vampire heritage, tracking his father down to the university where he teaches occult sciences. Aside from Pataki's coarse but imposing performance, this low-budget film is a fairly routine genre entry, but the climactic, bloody duel between father and son vampires is quite gripping. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

The Vampire Bat
Bloodsucking winged creatures who may take human shape appear to have returned after centuries of dormancy to the middle-European municipality of Kleinschloss in this atmospheric, low-budget thriller from small-scale Majestic Pictures, and the burgomaster (Lionel Belmore) demands answers. With victims scattered everywhere, all bearing the distinctive puncture marks, police detective Karl Brettschneider (Melvyn Douglas) finds himself completely stymied. Brettschneider, who refuses to accept what he considers mere superstition, is not pleased when that eminent physician Dr. Otto Von Niemann (Lionel Atwill) hints that there may indeed be such things as murderous human bats. Herman Gleib (Dwight Frye), the village idiot, meanwhile, just happens to have a fondness for the nocturnal creatures -- "They're so soft!" -- and the villagers, as they are wont to do, grab their torches and commence a manhunt. Poor Herman is destroyed, but there is another killing. And this time the victim is Georgiana (Stella Adams), Dr. Von Niemann's housekeeper, who failed to serve the physician his late-night coffee. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Nosferatu
F. W. Murnau's landmark vampire film Nosferatu isn't merely a variation on Bram Stoker's Dracula: it's a direct steal, so much so that Stoker's widow went to court, demanding in vain that the Murnau film be suppressed and destroyed. The character names have been changed to protect the guilty (in the original German prints, at least), but devotees of Stoker will have little trouble recognizing their Dracula counterparts. The film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter (Gustav von Wagenheim) has arrived to close a sale with the reclusive Herr Orlok (Max Schreck). Despite the feverish warnings of the local peasants, Hutter insists upon completing his journey to Orlok's sinister castle. While enjoying his host's hospitality, Hutter accidently cuts his finger-whereupon Orlok tips his hand by staring intently at the bloody digit, licking his lips. Hutter catches on that Orlok is no ordinary mortal when he witnesses the vampiric nobleman loading himself into a coffin in preparation for his journey to Bremen. By the time the ship bearing Orlok arrives at its destination, the captain and crew have all been killed-and partially devoured. There follows a wave of mysterious deaths in Bremen, which the local authorities attribute to a plague of some sort. But Ellen, Hutter's wife, knows better. Armed with the knowledge that a vampire will perish upon exposure to the rays of the sun, Ellen offers herself to Orlok, deliberately keeping him "entertained" until sunrise. At the cost of her own life, Ellen ends Orlok's reign of terror once and for all. Rumors still persist that Max Schreck, the actor playing Nosferatu, was actually another, better-known performer in disguise. Whatever the case, Schreck's natural countenance was buried under one of the most repulsive facial makeups in cinema history-one that was copied to even greater effect by Klaus Kinski in Werner Herzog's 1979 remake - Nosferatu the Vampyre. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Thirsty Dead
In order to maintain their youth, vampiric jungle freaks kidnap and sacrifice pretty young things in this horror/thriller. ~ Kristie Hassen, Rovi

Messiah of Evil
A small California village is attacked by zombies in this 1974 thriller. ~ John Bush, Rovi

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