Premature Burial remained for a long time the ignored entry into Corman’s cycle, more or less skipped over as people hastened to get from Pit and the Pendulum on to Tales of Terror, Masque of the Red Death and The Raven, when everything was back as it should be and Vincent Price was once again stalking across the screen
Lee is less of a presence here than in the last film, and his shadow doesn’t seem to loom as powerfully over everything when he’s not present as it did in Prince of Darkness. But when he does show up, he looks exquisite.
Whether or not Pit and the Pendulum is a better film than House of Usher is a moot question. What is important is that it’s not a disappointment. It maintains the lofty standards set by the first film and proved the success — both artistically and financially — was no fluke.
For anyone who appreciates the history of horror, House of Usher is a treat. It creaks and creeps with menace and is crawling with intellectual angst and doom. It is a poetic, delicately crafted masterpiece of the macabre that fuels itself with atmosphere and an inspired performance from Vincent Price.
It’s great to see Christopher Lee back in action again as the count, and really, that alone is enough to make this film enjoyable. Lee swore this would be the final time he’d play Dracula for Hammer. He was, naturally, back again as the count very shortly there after.
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.
It’s a mess. I wouldn’t call it terrible, but I would stop well short of calling it good. However, these subjective judgments ultimately mean nothing, because the film endears itself to me simply because it’s so willing to go so overboard in almost every aspect. It’s brash, supremely operatic, terribly overwrought, and easy to get absorbed into.
As is the case with both Horror of Dracula and Curse of Frankenstein, one can’t help but compare it to the old Universal film. I’m a big fan of Karloff’s The Mummy, and I’m a big fan of this one.
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.
Anyone claiming that Spirits of the Dead isn’t a good movie is probably only just saying that because Vadim’s contribution to this anthology of Edgar Allen Poe adaptations as conceived […]