Monsignor Ernst Mueller (Rupert Davies) travels to a small town in Eastern Europe to find out how it is doing since the vampire Dracula (Christopher Lee) was destroyed a year ago. At the village he finds the village priest (Ewan Hooper) drinking in the local tavern and the church deserted. A year ago, the body of a young woman was found in the church. She was the vampire’s last victim. The parishioners are still wary and refuse to enter the church. They still believe the vampire is alive.
The Monsignor decides that he must end the superstition about the vampire once and for all. He travels to Dracula’s castle to exorcise the evil within it. The village priest is weak and unable to make the journey to the castle, so the Monsignor leaves him part way up. The priest has been drinking and loses his balance. He falls onto the frozen lake, breaks the ice, and cuts his forehead. The blood from his wound goes into the lake and revives Dracula.
Dracula is furious that his castle has been exorcised and he is unable to enter it. He seeks revenge on the Monsignor. Dracula uses the weak-willed priest as his slave and has him take his coffin to the city of Keinenberg, the hometown of the Monsignor. Monsignor Mueller lives with his widowed sister-in-law, Anna (Marion Mathie) and her daughter, Maria (Veronica Carlson). Dracula finds out about the beautiful niece. He decides that the best way to get his revenge is to turn Maria into a vampire.
“Dracula Has Risen from the Grave” was released in 1968 and was directed by Freddie Francis. It is a British horror film produced by the Hammer Film Studios. This one is the fourth Dracula film in the series. It is a very loose sequel to the last Hammer Dracula film, “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” 1966.
Hammer made nine Dracula films. Christopher Lee played Dracula in seven of them. Lee gets a little more screen time here, as well as an interestingly prolonged death scene but his character is not the main one in the film. Even so, Lee is still the most striking character.
Lee and Hammer Studios were responsible for establishing the image of the modern vampire. This vampire is sexy yet horrifying. Contact lenses gave Lee the blood-shot eyes that were a little eye-watering to look at. Although fangs have appeared in some of the Mexican vampire movies, Lee was the first to popularize the trait.
The movie ended up being a fairly decent Hammer Dracula offering. It’s not my favorite, and the story is a little bland, but it did have the standard gothic and color saturated visuals that make Hammer so much fun to watch.