Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Making of: Dracula Has Risen From The Grave

My Monster Memory today is of:
"Dracula Has Risen From The Grave"
(Click on images to view full size)

From issue #10 of Fantastic Films, published in September of 1979, comes this behind-the-scenes article on the making of "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave," the third in the Hammer series of films starring Christopher Lee as the Count. Sink your teeth into this!

My own personal monster memories of this film began about 1971. We lived in Parkersburg, WV at the time, and I was in the 6th grade. Every Friday at school they showed a movie in the gym, with admission being a quarter. The one I remember most vividly was "Dracula Has Risen From The Grave," especially the scenes of the woman's body being discovered in the church bell, Dracula under the ice, and his destruction on the cross at the end. It would be over 35 years before I would see it again, when it finally came out on DVD. It has always been my favorite out of the Hammer Dracula films, due to this nostalgic memory; although not the best movie of them all, certainly very entertaining and better than the Drac sequels that came after.

In this piece of artwork for one of the posters, the artist himself posed for the reference photo of Dracula, which accounts for the fact it resembles Lee not in the slightest. Alos Drac seems a bit petulant and frustrated... more an upset child than a threatening figure.

Below are some screen captures from the DVD of the scenes I mentioned as being particularly memorable to me.

Although technically, he rose from a frozen stream, but that just didn't click as a catchy title.

This buxom belle is found stuffed up in a church bell. Why and how Drac did it is unclear, but perhaps he got tired of hearing the clanging every time he settled in for a morning nap.

As the burdened Monsignor makes the long tiresome climb, he wonders why they ever thought the castle would make a good tourist attraction.

Nothing says "rise and shine" like the taste of fresh blood on your lips.

"You! I command you, come and pull my finger!"

"Now, slave... go forth and do my bidding!
Oh, and pick me up some Visine from Rite-Aid while you're out!"

Impaled on the cross, the Count struggles helplessly while the gawking onlookers don't lift a finger to help.

Poor persecuted Dracula, who only wishes to live and let die, is abandoned by his faithless servant, whom he always treated with dignity and respect.

Even watching Frank Miller's "The Spirit" movie last week wasn't this eye-bleedingly painful.

Presumably dissolving into blood off-camera, Drac disappears after a painful and lingering death. It could have been worse, though; he could very easily have landed on the cross in a sitting position, in which case it would have been a real pain in the posterior.

It's interesting how times have changed; if a teacher showed this movie in his class, much less to a gym full of teens, they would probably end up on the 6 o'clock news, be fired, and the kids all trotted to the school shrink for counseling. Meanwhile the kids go home and play violent video games and watch TV shows and movies that would have given me nightmares for years at that age. Hypocrisy.


Mr. Karswell said...

Cool Fred, I see you changed it to My Monster Memories... hopefully this'll be all it takes. Keep me informed if anything else comes up.

Frederick said...


I had considered that as a solution, and when you suggested it also, I thought it would be the best way. I also put a disclaimer on there. I can respect someone trying to protect a trademark name, hence my efforts to lessen any confusion.

It seems to be sufficent!

CRwM said...

What's with the PR guys trying to emphasize Drac's double chin? In the poster and on the cover of the press book, they really aren't trying to flatter the poor guy.

I understand he's a demonic, blood-drinking adversary of all that is good and holy, but these sorts of shallow image-based efforts to degrade him are shameful. Attack the vampire's issues, not his looks, you know?