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Film / Dracula: Prince of Darkness

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Dracula: Prince of Darkness is a 1966 Hammer Horror film. It acts as sort of a sequel to Horror of Dracula and to a lesser extent The Brides of Dracula, and is the second film to star Christopher Lee as the eponymous vampire.

The film takes place ten years after the end of Horror. Even though Dracula has been destroyed, the land is still in fear of his presence, especially since his castle still looms on the horizon. Four English tourists, the Kents (Charles, his wife Diana, Charles's brother Alan, and Alan's wife Helen) are navigating the country. Despite being warned by a local priest, Father Sandor, to steer clear of the castle, the Kents naturally don't listen and wind up near the castle after their driver abandons them.

There, they're met by the caretaker, Klove, who takes them in for the night. However Alan, while investigating a noise, is captured and killed by Klove. His body is hanged over Dracula's crypt where his blood drips on the remains. Dracula revives and proceeds to resume his reign of terror, first by turning Helen into a vampire then going after Diana. It soon falls on Charles and Father Sandor to stop him.


The film was followed by Dracula Has Risen from the Grave.

Dracula Prince of Darkness has the following tropes:

  • Back from the Dead: Guess who?
  • Bad Boss: Judging how he treats Helen, Dracula comes off that way here.
  • Blood Magic: The first of many times Dracula is resurrected in these movies.
  • Book Case Passage: Dracula's coffin is in a room at the bottom of a corridor hidden by a tapestry.
  • The Cassandra: Helen, who keeps insisting that no good will come of going to the castle.
  • Crusty Caretaker: Klove.
  • Damsel in Distress: Diana.
    • Hidden Depths: When Charles is being menaced by Dracula, Diana grabs Sandor's rifle and shoots at the Count. While of course bullets are useless against Dracula and she misses anyway, it does show Sandor how they can kill Dracula. Besides, Diana doesn't know the rifle alone won't kill Dracula and her act shows she isn't prepared to stand aside and do nothing while her husband is in danger.
      • She's also the first person in the movie to recognize the power of the cross and use it to defend herself.
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  • Developing Doomed Characters: Dracula doesn't show up until nearly halfway through the movie, except in a brief flashback to the first film.
  • Dracula: He's in this movie. This sounds like a case of Captain Obvious, but he wasn't in the previous film, The Brides of Dracula.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Heard while Dracula is resurrected.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Klove is introduced this way, creating a Cat Scare that causes Helen to scream and brings Charles and Alan running.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Helen switches to a flowing night robe upon turning into a vampire.
  • Evil Redhead: Helen again, post turning.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: If you look closely during her close up after she turns, you can still see the puncture marks on Helen's throat.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Diana
  • Happily Married: Charles and Diana. Alan and Helen slightly less so.
  • Haunted Castle
  • Hero Antagonist: Father Sandor.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Diana and Charles figure this out when Diana's cross necklace hits (the now vamped) Helen's arm and she cries out in pain.
    • After which Charles drives Dracula back by fashioning an Improvised Cross from the two parts of the sword the Count broke.
  • In the Back: Klove kills Alan by knifing him in this manner.
  • Instant People: Just Add Water!: The title character is reanimated by having his ashes mixed with blood.
  • Irony: Helen is the most cautious of the group, heeding Father Sandor's warning about not going near the castle and expressing her unease when they wind up having to spend the night inside it anyway. So naturally she winds up being the only one in the group turned into a vampire.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The vampirized Helen. She completely fails to actually kill anyone, and is eventually caught off-screen by a bunch of monks who easily hold her down and calmly stake her. Of course not for lack of trying, she does succeed in biting Diana in the arm and only stopped due to Dracula interrupting her. Plus she is a newborn vampire and likely not very strong without any blood to power her.
  • Must Be Invited: Father Sandor tells Charles that he and Diana should be safe in the abbey due to this, not realizing that Dracula already has one of its residents (Ludwig) under his power.
  • Mythology Gag: Ludwig is a madman who is introduced eating a fly. Unsurprisingly, he turns out to be this film's version of Renfield.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires can be killed by drowning in running water.
  • The Renfield: Klove and Ludwig, the latter who could even be an Expy of him.
  • Role Called
  • Schmuck Banquet: The Kents find one of these laid out for them on their arrival at Castle Dracula.
  • Stock Footage: The climax from Horror of Dracula (with Van Helsing forcing Dracula into the sunlight, where he withers away to ashes) is shown as a prologue narrated by Father Sandor.
  • Super Drowning Skills: How Dracula is defeated, by being knocked into a frozen pond and the protagonists shooting at the ice so he falls into the water.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Helen after turning, the first thing she does is quickly go after her sister. After Dracula prevents that, she settles for Charles.
  • Überwald
  • Vampire Refugee: Diana after Helen bites her in the arm.
  • Villainous Rescue: Dracula to Diana twice, both times to keep a vampire Helen from feeding on her, if only to make her into a vampire bride himself.
  • The Voiceless: Dracula has no dialogue at all in the film.
  • Warrior Monk: Well somewhat, Father Sandor and his group aren't major fighters but they know enough on how to deal with vampirism. Heck, they managed to easily catch and hold down Helen before staking her.

Video Example(s):


Dracula Prince of Darkness [Helen's Plea for Help]

Scene from the 1966 film, Dracula Prince of Darkness. After Charles and Diana narrowly escape Dracula's castle, they're found by the local monks and taken in. But Dracula, along with a newly vampirized Helen, follow after them. When night falls, Helen locals where Diana is sleeping and pleas for help to get away from Dracula's control.

Example of:

Main / WoundedGazelleGambit