Dracula Has Risen
From the Grave

Hammer Films, 1968
Directed by Freddie Francis

The fourth in Hammer's series of Dracula films picks up a year after the events of Dracula, Prince of Darkness. The inhabitants of the benighted town near Castle Dracula live in fear, feeling that an evil from the castle's shadow has touched even their church. The craven local priest, already driven to drink by fear, is further unnerved by the discovery of a vampirized dead girl stuffed upside-down inside the church bell. When the brave Monsignor, who previously slew the Count, arrives in town for a checkup, he decides that he and the priest should climb up to the castle and conduct an exorcism. Unfortunately, as the hardened cynical villagers feared from the first, his efforts lead indirectly to the revival of the Count. On finding his castle door barred by a giant crucifix, Dracula vows revenge on the Monsignor and follows him to his hometown.

Theological Concerns
The story plays out as an allegory driven by  the various degrees of spiritual purity and inpurity among the characters. While the Monsignor is brave and true in his faith, his efforts are undone by his cowardly underling priest. Back at home, the Monsignor lives in a household of benign sexual repression, having adopted his niece and his late brother's widow, who clearly wishes she could be more to the Monsignor than just a friend. Maria (the niece) and her atheist boyfriend Paul brave many forbidden trips across the rooftops of the town to see each other. Paul's lack of faith hampers him in the battle against the vampire, but his forthright honesty and idealism keep him from ever sinking to the depths that the priest does. Maria, though bitten and dominated by Dracula, remains able to handle crucifixes, while the pathetic priest is no longer able to do so, even to abet his evil master's ends. When the priest finally redeems himself with the prayer that seals Dracula's fate, the effort is so great that he apparently expires afterwards. Paul's final genuflection shows that his travail has led him back to the fold. 

The evil Count in this film is barely articulate, given only to exclamations and terse commands. In most ways he seems almost more like an animal than a thinking being, though he does spin rudimentary evil plots. As in Horror of Dracula, he lodges himself in the basement of his victim's house, too close for notice! The Count's bloodshoot eyes are an unfortunate effect, suggesting a skid row bum more than a master of evil. However, Christopher Lee makes the most of the character's physicality, with vivid gestures and grimaces of command or disgust, and a couple of very enthusiastic death scenes.

Vampire Lore
In this story, staking the vampire is not enough; a prayer must also be read. At the end of movie, it is the Lord's Prayer that serves the purpose, ending with "Sed Libera Nos a Malo," the Latin for "Deliver us from evil."

As in other Hammer films, Dracula does not transform into animals or manifest as mist, nor does he move about in daylight. Further, in one scene, Dracula's reflection is clearly seen in water.

Dracula's Revival
Though trapped in a partly-frozen stream, the Count is easily revived after the ice is cracked and a trickle of blood follows its unlikely path to his mouth. Once awakened, he apparently is able to exit the running water under his own volition, which makes you wonder why it trapped him to begin with.

Dracula's Demise
After falling on a sharp metal cross from a great height, Dracula writhes in agony until the priests' liturgy puts him out of his misery. As usual, his body disintegrates.

Dangling Threads
The dead girl in the bell at the film's start is never explained. As Dracula is not yet revived at this point, it would seem there must be another vampire in the neighborhood. (Either that, or a crazed film editor sacrificed continuity to obtain the nice shock value at the start of the film.)

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