In a new series of articles 'The bloke down the pub' will tell us all about his favourite Hammer Horror films. This first week he's forcing us to listen to him excitedly ramble on about Dracula Has Risen From The Grave from 1968. Enjoy!
"What about those rooftops, eh? Very spooky.
Dripping in proper atmosphere they were; your foggy, twilit, black shapes rising from the depths to loom over the town sort of atmosphere. Weird how freeing the rooftops were though eh? Given how awesomely spooky they are. I mean, there’s Dracula, hiding out in the basement next to a coffin he nicked from some poor dead bird he had turfed out of it, and there’s the two young lovers scampering over the black rooftops back and forth to each other like the world was all promise and hope instead of grim and dark and full of fear... like that horrible no good priest.
You know, come to think of it, the whole film was about the horrible no good priest really, wasn’t it? I mean, he’s the cowardly bugger who wouldn’t go near Dracula’s castle at the beginning (a castle, by the way, that takes a whole day to climb up to - even poor old Dracula at the end has to schlep all the way up there, although this being Christopher Lee it’s much more of a gliding menacing sort of a schlep), he’s the one who woke Dracula up, he’s the one who led the Count on a revenge mission to find the other priest - his mate! - who barred the door to Dracula’s castle with that dirty great cross (lovely visual of the other priest with the huge cross strapped to his back climbing through the murk to the castle of evil - lovely stuff), he’s the one who gets Dracula nice and settled in the pub basement - Dracula in a pub basement! - and he’s the one who brings him an old-fashioned wench to feed on. My point is, without the no good horrible priest, what would Dracula be eh? Just a grumpy tall bloke on a hill no-one can get to.
By the way, what’s up with Dracula making the edges of the screen glow green? Did I miss a meeting that decided green was the colour of evil? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic way to turn Lee into even more of an other-worldly monster… but why bloody green?!
Anyway, if you want my opinion, I’m not sure the horrible no good priest deserves the chance of redemption he gets in the end especially when he goes on to do even more unforgivable things. But then maybe, and this has only just occurred to me sitting here talking to you on this murky old evening of our own, that maybe that’s the point of the whole film! Here he is, total slimy, scaredy cat bastard - carrying on living when good people are dying - and he’s the one God chooses for redemption!
Gives hope to all of us eh?