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The Brides of Dracula is a 1960 Hammer Horror film which served as a semi-sequel to Horror of Dracula. The title is a little misleading as Dracula doesn't appear in the film. Christoper Lee did not reprise his role as the Count as he felt was getting typecast (having earlier played Dracula in a Italian adaptation). Ironically, after the success of this film he did return to the role and would do so for four movies.
The film follows a French schoolteacher named Marianne Danielle who is transferred to Transylvania for a new teaching job. En route to the school however. Her driver gets spooked with the coming nightfall and abandons her in a local village. At a tavern she meet the Baroness Meinster who invites her to her castle for the night. While exploring she meets the young Baron, shackled in his room, who convince Marianne that the Baroness is mad and talks her into freeing him. However unknown to Marianne, the Baron is actually a vampire that was bitten by Dracula long ago and the Baroness had him shackled for safekeeping. Now on the loose, The Baron sets about creating vampire servants (i.e the brides) with Marianne as a main target. Luckily though Van Helsing happens to arrive in the village at the call of a local priest and a showdown is imminent between the slayer and the vampire with Marianne's humanity on the line.
Not to be confused with the characters from the novel, though the film popularized the term.
The Brides of Dracula provides the following tropes.
- Blondes Are Evil: The Baron.
- Covers Always Lie: At least one poster associated with the film shows Dracula and a number of girls he most likely turned. (The one linked to also uses a flat-out lie in its hype, unless you read "Dracula" as synonym for "vampire".)
- Dawson Casting: Meinster doesn't seem older (vampirism aside) than the early-20s girls he turns, but actor David Peel was 40 at the time.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gina and the village girl after turning.
- Evil Detecting Horses
- Holy Burns Evil: Van Helsing spoils Meinster's good looks with a faceful of holy water.
- Idiot Ball: It's pretty much Marianne's job to carry this around.
- Mercy Kill: Helsing does this to the Baroness after she reveals she's been vampirized and abandoned by her son.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Congrats Marianne, you unleashed a undead creature into the village and any girls he turns is on your head. Bravo.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Continuing on from Horror of Dracula , getting bitten seems to be an obvious threat regardless if the vampire fully drains you. Van Helsing gets bitten by the Baron, but comes up with a cure by cauterizing the bite wounds with a hot poker and then dashing the burn marks with holy water. For some reason, that cure never gets used again though its more then likely that Helsing, being Helsing, knew what to do to save himself. When the Baron bit Helsing he only took a little and it was meant as a slow form of turning as opposed to the Baroness, Village Girl and Gina who were all fully drained and beyond saving from vampirism.
- Vampirism is also described as something like a religious cult, though that may be to explain why we don't actually have Dracula in this film (Meinster is described as a disciple).
- Scenery porn Technicolor lighting and Gothic sets are gorgeous, to say the least
- The Renfield: Greta.
- Rise From Your Grave: Twice in the movie, the first is when Greta helps a newly turned village girl crawl out of her grave. The second is the iconic scene of Gina busting open her coffin and rising as a vampire.
- Self-Disposing Villain: How Greta meets her end, falling from the second story of the windmill
- Slasher Smile: The vampiric Gina does this upon seeing Marianne.
- Transhuman Treachery: The village girl and Gina instantly become evil upon awakening as vampires. Though oddly the Baroness keeps her sense of self when she's turned.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The start of the movie sees a man jumping onto the back of Marianne's carriage. He jumps off when he reaches the village and he's never seen again. Its also implied that the vampiric Gina and village girl died in the fire of the burning windmill but its never said out loud or shown.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: How Van Helsing defeats the Baron by jumping onto a windmill and turning it so the moonlight will cast a cross-shaped shadow.