Saturday, September 25, 2010

THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (Terence Fisher, 1960)

A mother feeds voluptuous vixens to her insatiable progeny; a son kept in bondage, forever young, and unable to fly the coup…so to speak. Terence Fisher’s sequel to Hammer’s DRACULA is an adventurous tale of vampirism masquerading as sexual addiction, ripe with a homoerotic and incestuous riptide, where feminism suffers a crushing defeat at the hands of a seductive man.

Marianne is a teacher sidetracked on her journey to a private school, her fiery tresses and alluring accent arousing the libidos of nearly every man…and the jealousies of women. She accepts an offer to spend the night in a foreboding castle and out of pity, releases a venereal disease upon the local community. But Dr. Van Helsing arrives secure in his science and faith to cure this rampant infection. The bloodthirsty Baron turns on his own mother, and in one touching scene Helsing releases her from damnation so she can finally rest in peace, her sins forgiven by a higher authority.

The Baron surrounds himself with ashen faced vixens and his human servant Greta, who doesn’t suffer the aversion to the cross. One creepy scene involves padlocks falling off the coffin of the newly deceased Gina, who rises and apologizes to Marianne for having kissed her fiancĂ© the Baron, then advances upon her for her own delightful foreplay. Helsing’s momentary victory leads them all to a windmill, where he is tainted by the vampire and cauterizes the wound, washing away the curse with holy water. Why doesn’t he die (and rise) immediately like the others?

The confrontation in the ghostly windmill is a tour-de-force ending, as Van Helsing’s faith overpowers any shadow of a doubt.

Final Grade: (B+)

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