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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 Count Dracula doesn't appear in the film. (Christopher Lee declined to reprise his role for fear of getting typecast. Ironically, the very success of this film would convince him to return to the character for another six films, beginning with Dracula: Prince of Darkness.)

The film follows a French schoolteacher named Marianne Danielle (Yvonne Monlaur) 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 meets the Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt), who invites her to her castle for the night. While exploring there she meets the young Baron (David Peel), shackled in his room, who is able to convince Marianne that the Baroness is mad and talks her into freeing him. Unbeknownst to Marianne, the Baron was turned into a vampire 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. Fortunately, Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) 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.
  • Artifact Title: Despite the title, Dracula is never seen in the story and just barely mentioned having been the cause of the Baron's vampirization. In fact, the "brides" are actually the Baron's, not his.
  • Badass Bookworm: Van Helsing, of course, who is a full-on professional Vampire Hunter in this film.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After the Baron proposes to Marianne, Gina and she have some girl time that night and talk about her engagment. When Marianne leaves the room for something, Gina wishes that the Baron had picked her. She gets her wish when the Baron, in vampire form, comes into the room and drains her. Indeed she became his becoming a walking corpse stripped of her morality.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted. Herr Lang stops the vampirisation of Marianne completely by accident, believing the man about to bite her neck to be an unwanted intruder, and then, after some explanation, her betrothed. Still, it did save Marianne.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Baron is stopped and Marianne avoids joining the undead. But is likely traumatized by the entire event as she saw a new friend she made turned into an undead monster. What's more, there's no confirmation that Gina and the village girl died in the burning windmill. Meaning they likely escaped and are still at large in the village. Sure, Helsing is still in the area but it may be awhile to find the two before they'll feed on others, especially since Gina will likely target the boarding school.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: How poor Gina loses her humanity.
  • Chain Pain: At the mill, Meinster picks up a chain and attacks Van Helsing with it.
  • 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.
    • A common video cover is of Marianne and the Baron against a window with a castle in the background and a bat flying overhead, making it seem that they were the protagonists of the story with the Baron trying to protect her from the vampires. Of course, in truth, the Baron is the vampire and is trying to claim Marianne as his vampire bride.
  • Damsel in Distress: Marianne; Van Helsing has to rescue her on more than one occasion throughout the film.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Gina and the village girl after becoming vampires. Justified as they're undead.
  • Ethereal White Dress: Both the village girl and Gina are buried in white gowns and wear them when they arise as vampires.
  • 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.
  • Fainting: Marianne. She faints out of exhaustion after fleeing from Baron Meinster's castle, and then again in Van Helsing's arms when he arrives just in time to save her from a now vampirized Gina.
  • 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).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause the video just as the Baron escape the chateau, you can see the village girl he had bitten, and who earlier rose as a vampire and escaped Van Helsing, the one driving the couch he uses to make his getaway.
  • 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 is of her transformation. When Helsing offers to "free" her, she gladly takes it.
  • 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.
  • "Join Us" Drone: After Gina rises as a vampire, she tries to get Marianne to join her so they both can be the Baron's "brides".
    Gina: Marianne. My darling Marianne. You haven't forgotten your little Gina. Put your arms around me please, I want to kiss you, Marianne. Please be kind to me, say that you'll forgive me for letting [The Baron] love me. (After a cutaway to Vam Helsing outside) We can both love him my darling. He's up at the old mill now. We can go there together. (Hold out her hand) Come with me, Marianne.
  • 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.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • The last time the Baroness is seen alive as a human, the Baron "implores" her to come to him for a "talk" while Marianne goes to get dressed to leave with him. The next time the Baroness is seen, she's by drained, slumped over dead in a chain and awaiting to rise as a vampire.
    • The village girl that the Baron attacks is completely fed on offscreen, with Van Helsing only discovering this at her funeral.
    • Zig-zagged with Gina, we see the Baron going in for the bite but the screen fades to the next scene just as he's about to nip her.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. The previous film had enough violence and gore to earn an R rating, but this film is rated G. However, it does have its fair share of horror violence, and it got its G rating in the very early days of the MPAA's film rating system.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Meinster isn't visibly afflicted, but there's a good reason why his mother locked him away.
  • Maybe Ever After: Van Helsing and Marianne.
  • Mercy Kill: Helsing does this to the Baroness after she reveals she's been vampirized and abandoned by her son.
  • Missing Reflection: The Baron gets the drop on Gina by silently entering into her room through a window with her unaware he's there due to facing a mirror when he does and not seeing him due to having no reflection. By the time Gina senses he's in the room, the Baron quickly hypnotizes and feeds on her.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Marianne doesn't realize she's in a vampire movie.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Near the end of the movie, the Baron actually manages to defeat Helsing in combat and goes to claim Marianne. He only loses due to his own arrogance in trying to rub his victory in Helsing's face rather than just taking the opportunity to turn Marianne when he had the chance, allowing Helsing to turn things around at the last minute.
  • 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: Marianne thought she was freeing an abuse victim from his prison. It was a reasonable assumption, but a deadly one.
  • Non-Indicative Name: This movie isn't about Dracula nor any of his brides. If it didn't have Peter Cushing reprising his role as Van Helsing, it would be a completely stand-alone vampire movie.
  • 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).
  • Peaceful in Death: The Baroness, after Van Helsing gives her a Mercy Kill.
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Happens a lot with the vampires.
    • After the village girl arises as a vampire. Greta tries to hold off Helsing and the Priest to give her some moments to get away. She does so by turning into a bat and flying away.
    • The Baron's first fight with Helsing ends with him fleeing the castle as Helsing is too well equip to deal with. The village girl from before manages to get a carriage (likely carrying his coffin) and ride him out of the area.
    • The newly vamped Gina tries to get Marianne to let her bite her after she awakens. But the moment Helsing busts into the stable and goes to Marianne's aid rather then focus on her. She takes the opportunity to fleet, likewise not wanting to waste her new existence in a fight against a skilled vampire hunter. Especially since she met him briefly while human and likely knows his face from the link with the Baron.
    • And finally when the windmill catches fire, Gina and the Village Girl instantly leave as the place goes aflame.
  • 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.
  • Supporting the Monster Loved One: Despite her son having been turned into a monster, both the Baroness and Greta still care for him since he still family to them. The Baroness luring and feeding him girls and Greta continuing to support him after he's freed and starting creating his own vampire brides.
  • 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".
  • 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. Emphasized with the father of the former stating how good a sister she was to her younger sibling and showing how kind the latter was as a human. When the latter becomes a vampire, she is completely seductive and has no problem with trying to bite Marianne (though does try to ask to let Marianne do it willingly). 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.
  • Undead Barefooter: Two of the Baron Meinster's brides are barefoot. Justified as the women were interred with little clothing outside a gown when they resurrected as vampires.
  • 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.
  • Unwitting Instigatorof Doom: Marianne.
  • Vampire's Harem: The Baron sets about creating one no sooner then he's freed. First turning a local village girl, then proceeding to Gina before seeking to add Marianne to his sway. It's likely if Helsing hadn't arrived when he did, he would've targeted the charm school not long after.
  • Vampire Hickey:
    • Greta shows Marianne the corpse of Baroness Meinster after Marianne unwittingly frees the Baroness' son. The elderly woman is slumped in a chair with bite marks on her throat.
    • Van Helsing identifies a vampire is on the prowl in the village he arrives in when he sees the puncture marks on a recently deceased village girl during her funeral. And once more finds them after Gina is later found dead at the local charm school. When both women revive as vampires, the marks are still visible on their necks.
    • Van Helsing gets bitten by the Baron in the climax of the movie and find the marks after he wakes up from being choked out from their fight. However he manages to cure himself by burning it with a hot poker then splashing it with holy water.
  • 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 grasps it several time in the film.
    • For one, after he was freed and 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) in an utterly secluded area to boot, it was more then an ample opportunity to turn her. Instead, he goes to the village first, feeds on a peasant girl and alerts the local priest and in turn, Helsing, to his presence. Only then does he try to turn his attention back to Marianne.
    • In the climax, he essentially had already won. 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 again could've easily fed on her at the boarding school and turned her. Helsing was miles away and incapacitated and she was alone in her own room with only a cross which he easily manged to prevent her from using. Instead, he brings her back to the windmill so he can bite her in front of Van Helsing. Van Helsing manages to recover long enough to counter and defeat him.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


TBoD [Gina Bitten]

The Brides of Dracula (1960) - The Baron visits Gina in the middle of the night, picking her as his next meal/victim. She's found the following day dead on her bed. Van Helsing and the local doctor come in to examine her and find the marks on her throat. Helsing is instantly wise to what happening and sure enough that following night, Gina rises, the marks still on her neck.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / VampireHickey

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