For my money, the double whammy of Curse of Frankenstein and Revenge of Frankenstein represents the high water mark for Hammer horror productions. They’re simply wonderful films, perfectly connected to one another without the sequel being a derivative rehash.
There is practically nothing at all on display in this film that is surprising. The plot is a rehash of the tried and true and terribly over-used mummy movie plot involving an expedition that disturbs a mummy’s tomb only to have some mad Arab resurrect the mummy and send it out to kill those who desecrated the temple.
Paul investigates and discovers that all of them were clients of Christine. There’s also the body of a poor sewer man with no dialogue other than “Aarrgghh,” played Michael Ripper.
Even though it never really becomes a swashbuckling adventure (although Peter Cushing does get to swing from a chandelier) or a horror film, Hinds exploits the trappings of both genres to create a thrilling hybrid driven by strong characters and solid British acting.
There’s a reason this emerged as the goriest of all Dracula films, and one of the goriest Hammer films, period: they had to cover up the threadbare production with something.
If Brides of Dracula is the forgotten Dracula film, I can’t imagine it will stay that way for very long. It’s simply too good. Maybe not quite as good as the original, but definitely the equal of the next sequel, Dracula, Prince of Darkness, which saw the return of Christopher Lee to the role of Dracula.
The look and style of a Hammer film would become as much a trademark as the blood, the buxom beauties bursting out of their bodices, and Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing chasing after one another and wearing those Victorian overcoats.
Hammer rushed out two more horror-scifi amalgamations, then in 1956 went to work on what was to be their first in a series of films that were, depending on who you are, either adaptations of classic works of British gothic horror, or remakes of old Universal Pictures horror films.