Film: The Brides of Dracula

"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 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.

  • Badass Bookworm: Van Helsing, of course, who is a full-on professional Vampire Hunter in this film.
  • Blondes Are Evil: The Baron.
  • 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".)
    • The poster also seems to imply that more women were going to become vampires. At best only three of them fall under the Baron's bite.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gina and the village girl after becoming vampires. Justified as they're undead.
  • Evil Detecting Horses
  • 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.
  • Idiot Ball: It's pretty much Marianne's job to carry this around.
  • Mad Vampiric Son in the Attic
  • 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 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 it's more than 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 died from it. Allowing the vampirism to transform their bodies.
    • 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.
  • 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 while trying to grab Helsing's cross.
  • Slasher Smile: The vampiric Gina does this upon seeing Marianne.
  • Tempting Fate: After the Baron and Marianne become engaged, Gina expresses her (playful) envy Marianne and once she leaves to room to run an errand, expresses that she wished the Baron had picked her. Cue the Baron, in vampire form, arriving into the room.
  • 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. Though that might be because her son has no interest in controlling her and only turned her into a vampire as revenge.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods
  • 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) and got a major obstacle out of the way. 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.
  • 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.