Dracula fans should be warned that the good Count appears nowhere in The Brides of Dracula. But the legendary vampire's absence does not prevent Brides from being a crackling good horror yarn, a vintage Hammer scarefest that may not be a great film but nevertheless is great fun. The flaws are typical of the genre, namely that the screenplay often sacrifices credibility for expediency. Characters behave as they only do in horror films, neglecting basic rules of safety and common sense so that the plot can move along. But if one can accept these shortcomings, one can have a very fine time, as the screenplay is structured along well made lines and provides plenty of marvelous scenes. Director Terence Fisher plays to the script's strengths, making all of the "money" scenes pay off and downplaying the weaker segments so that they come across more as welcome respites than as "screen waits." True, Fisher's florid style may not please all who appreciate subtlety, but it's just what is called for in Brides. And he makes those key scenes -- Van Helsing's self-cure of a vampire bite, the Baroness' plea, the escape from the grave and the climactic sequence -- quite memorable. David Peel can't compare to Christopher Lee in the vampire department, but he's more than adequate, and Peter Cushing is very welcome as Van Helsing.
by Craig Butler review