Film / The Brides of Dracula

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"You haven't forgotten your little Gina, have you?"

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 due to fear of getting typecast. 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.

  • Age Without Youth: What the Baron inflicts on his mother as, even though she elderly, the curse still changes her into a vampire.
  • Badass Bookworm: Van Helsing, of course, who is a full-on professional Vampire Hunter in this film.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: How poor Gina loses her humanity.
  • 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"). Likewise an alternate seem to imply that the charm school was going to be the main setting with girls within getting turned into vampires and the threat of the undead taking it over. Again doesn't happen in the movie and the charm school is a partial setting at best.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gina and the village girl after becoming vampires. Justified as they're undead.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: After Gina is bitten, Helsing has her body moved to the horses' stable before burial just to be on the safe side. As night falls, the horses sense Gina's transformation and start raising a fuss but as none of the charming school staff are familiar with vampires, they pay it no heed.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Meinster turns his mother into a vampire in revenge for locking him up, knowing it's the worst thing he can do to her and the thing she fears most. She's the one vampire in Hammer history who does not revel in being one.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Marianne and the Baron get engaged after having met twice (and she really should have had some suspicion of him by then).
  • Holy Burns Evil: Van Helsing spoils Meinster's good looks with a face-full of holy water.
  • I Am a Monster: The Baroness when Helsing finds her. Since the Baron doesn't enforce his control on her after turning her, she keeps her sense of self and utterly hates being a vampire. Knowing that she'll never go into the sun again, will have a hunger for blood every night and will eventually have to kill to survive while never aging further. Even going out of her way to cover her mouth so her fangs won't show, showing how ashamed she of her transformation. When Helsing offers to "free" her, she gladly takes it.
  • Idiot Ball: It's pretty much Marianne's job to carry this around.
  • Improvised Cross: Van Helsing's manipulation of the burning windmill's blades.
  • It's All My Fault/Heel Realization: The Baroness after she becomes a vampire and realizes that how she raised her son lead to his (and subsequently, her) vampirized state.
  • Karmic Death: In a way. Greta feels the Baroness brought her fate upon herself as, in the past, she encouraged the Baron's cruelty as he was growing up and kept bad company. Implying that one of such was Dracula himself who turned the Baron. Then locking him up and luring girls to their manor to keep him alive with Marianne meant to be the next one. However she ended up freeing him and the Baron in turn fed on the Baroness and turned her into what she feared most, a vampire.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Meinster isn't visibly afflicted, but there's a good reason why his mother locked him away.
  • Mercy Kill: Helsing does this to the Baroness after she reveals she's been vampirized and abandoned by her son.
  • Never Trust a Title: Dracula does not appear, nor do any of the women in it plausibly qualify as his "bride".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Congrats Marianne, you unleashed a undead creature into the village and any girls he bites and become undead 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 more over due to the circumstances. 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, the unnamed Village Girl and Gina who were all fully drained and instantly killed from it. Thus being too late to save them since they were already on the verge of changing into vampires anyway.
    • 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).
  • The Renfield: Greta. Though unlike most examples, she's a willing servant having been with the Baron since childhood and wasn't willing to abandon him after Dracula turned him despite knowing what him being unleashed entails for the village. Even helping one of his recent victims rise from her grave and stalling Helsing and a priest so she can get away. Surprisingly enough, it seems mutual on the Baron's end as his brides listen to her without question despite being human. Somewhat making her a partial dragon to him as well.
    Greta: [To the brides when Helsing finds the Baron's coffin in the windmill] Go on, get him! Obey your master! Take him! Take him!
  • Rise from Your Grave: Twice in the movie.
  • Scars Are Forever: The village girl and later Gina still have the bite marks on their necks where they were bitten after becoming vampires.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: How Greta meets her end, falling from the second story of the windmill while trying to grab Helsing's cross.
  • Slasher Smile: The vampiric Gina does this upon seeing Marianne, flashing her fangs for the first time.
  • Tempting Fate: After the Baron and Marianne become engaged, Gina admits her playful envy of Marianne and once Marianne leaves the room to run an errand, expresses that she wished the Baron had picked her. Cue the Baron, in vampire form, arriving into the room and indeed making her one of his "brides".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Marianne constantly. She's goes with a complete stranger to her house even when the shopkeep tries to stop her, frees the Baron despite seeing him chained up, practically agrees to marry the Baron when they meet again despite only knowing him for like a day and a half and doesn't keep the cross Helsing on her at all time despite clearly being told he was a vampire and almost being bitten by a newly vampirized Gina. Honestly, it's only through sheer luck she managed to avoid becoming a vampire in the movie.
  • This Cannot Be!: It isn't said out loud, but the vamped Gina and the village girl's expressions display this when Helsing manages to cure himself of vampirisim.
  • Transhuman Treachery: The village girl and Gina instantly become evil upon awakening as vampires. Oddly, the Baroness keeps her sense of self when she's turned. Though that might be because her son has no interest in controlling her and only turned her into a vampire as revenge.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Both Gina and the village girl get this not long after their bodies after found when they're drained. Not surprisingly, it stays with them once they arise as vampires since they're walking corpses now.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: In his human guise, the Baron manages to charm Marianne enough that he convinces her to marry him after only two meetings. As a vampire, when he invades Gina's room, he instantly hypnotizes her no sooner then seeing him. With Gina willingly exposing her neck and offering no resistance to his bite. Her vampire form even asks forgiveness from Gina for letting him "love her".
  • Villain Ball:
    • The Baron. He essentially had already won in the climax. He manages to defeat Helsing in combat and could've simply killed him (or got Gina and the village girl to do it), got a major obstacle out of the way and carried on with his vampirism on the boarding school. But instead just chooses to bite him as a slow form of turning and leaves him be which gives time for Helsing to burn the vampire bite off his neck. What's more, when the Baron goes to collect Marianne, he could've easily fed on her at the boarding school and turned her. Instead, he brings her back to the windmill so he can bite her in front of Van Helsing. Helsing manages to recover long enough to counter and defeat him.
    • Heck, he could've even did so earlier in the movie after he was freed as after feeding on her mother, he could have easily fed on Marianne and made her into a bride not shortly after. Considering she had no knowledge of vampires or what was going on and no one knowing her whereabouts (with Greta certainly not interested in stopping the Baron), it was more then an ample opportunity to turn her. Instead, he goes after the village first, feeds on a girl and alerts the Priest and in turn, Helsing, to his presence. Only then does he try to turn her.
  • Was Once a Man: Stated as such by Van Helsing when he meets the Baroness and finds that she's now a vampire.
    Baroness: Why have you come here?
    Helsing: To find your son.
    Baroness: Then you know who I am?
    Helsing: I know who you were.
  • We Can Rule Together: A variant. When Gina arises as a vampire and sees Marianne. She tries to convince her to let her "kiss" her by stating that they can both "love" the Baron Meinster as his undead brides.
  • 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. Some theories figure he was a spy for the Countess and let her know when a stranger showed up in town. But nothing is confirmed.
    • In the climax, the vampirized Gina and village girl are last seen supposedly fleeing once the windmill catches on fire and are never seen for the remainder of the movie with no confirmation of their fate.
  • 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.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheBridesOfDracula