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Dracula, Prince Of Darkness
Dracula, Prince Of Darkness“In the blackness something evil stirs;
  a long-dead Count has returned to suck
  the blood of his victims and strike fear
  into the hearts of all who encounter him
  in the still brilliantly-scary Sixties horror
  movie Dracula, Prince Of Darkness..

AS THE THIRD VAMPIRE FILM in the landmark series, Dracula, Prince Of Darkness sees the magnificent Christopher Lee's welcome and much-anticipated return to the role of the undead Count after many years, during which he refused to take up the cape again.

Following on from Horror Of Dracula and Brides Of Dracula, Dracula, Prince Of Darkness is widely regarded as the true sequel to the original as the result of Lee's presence. The film opens with a pre-titles flashback sequence to the slaying of the Count by Van Helsing (the equally magnificent Peter Cushing) as a reminder from Horror Of Dracula.

Now ten years on, the abbot of a monastery at Karlsbad, Father Sandor (Hammer fan favourite Andrew Keir: Quatermass And The Pit) arrives just in time to prevent a ritual taking place that harked back to the time of vampires. He rides on to the inn, where he encounters a group of English tourists who are travelling through the Carpathian Woods.

Charles Kent (Francis Matthews: The Revenge Of Frankenstein) and his brother Alan (Charles Tingwell, who pops up in films and on television from time to time and who made his name in the UK in the Sixties hospital drama Emergency Ward 10) are accompanied by their respective wives Diana (Suzan Farmer: Rasputin The Mad Monk) and Helen (Hammer fan favourite Barbara Shelley: Village Of The Damned; Quatermass And The Pit) and have stopped at the inn for refreshments.

Excited at the prospect of adventure, the four are careless of their own safety as they enjoy themselves sight-seeing and 'broadening their minds'. Father Sandor invites them to the monastery but warns them to stay well away from the castle.

Their journey delayed, it is almost nightfall when they reach the crossroads below the castle and the coach-driver they have hired refuses to go further as it is getting dark. He is clearly afraid and refuses to even look at the castle. Left on their own, the four travellers head towards an ancient cottage but suddenly an empty coach appears.

The Kents take the coach but cannot guide it anywhere other than towards the castle and are forced to resign themselves to spending the night there. At first, it seems hospitable; but the sinister-looking retainer called Klove (Philip Latham), who says he has instructions from his dead master to welcome travellers, should have been a pointer towards something very nasty about to happen.

Count Dracula, Klove tells them, comes from a very old and distinguished family. Only Helen is frightened, sensing evil; and during the night one of the party disappears, slaughtered by Klove in order to resurrect Count Dracula and release him to gorge himself on the blood of the living once more.

The survivors are now in mortal danger, but can they escape and find sanctuary or will they all join the living dead? Dracula, Prince Of Darkness is a superb horror film, deliciously Sixties and horrifically scary.

The film also features: Thorley Walters as Ludwig; Walter Brown as Brother Mark; George Woodbridge as The Landlord; Philip Ray as The Priest; Joyce Hemson as the Mother; and John Maxin as the Coach Driver.

Music is Composed by James Bernard; Director of Photography is Michael Raed; Screenplay is by John Sansom, from an idea by John Elder based on characters created by Bram Stoker; Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys; and Directed by Terence Fisher. Dracula, Prince Of Darkness was produced at Bray Studios.

As the first in an on-going collaboration with Hammer to restore and re-release some of the most celebrated titles from the extensive library, Studio Canal in association with Hammer Films presents the iconic classic Dracula, Prince Of Darkness, fully restored, remastered and available on Blu-ray Double Play on 5 March 2012. Certificate: 18 | Approximate Running Time: Blu ray 90 Minutes; DVD 87 Minutes | Catalogue Number: OPTBD0634 | RRP: 22.99.

Extras: Audio commentary featuring Christopher Lee, Suzan Farmer, Francis Matthews and Barbara Shelley | World of Hammer episode Hammer Stars: Christopher Lee | Back to Black: The Making Of Dracula, Prince Of Darkness | Super 8mm Behind The scenes Footage | Restoration Comparison | Trailer | Double Bill Trailer | Original USA Titles | Original Print UK Theatrical Titles.

The remastered release is accompanied by a host of specially created new extras, produced in collaboration with Hammer expert and author Marcus Hear (author of The Hammer Vault), including a brand new 'making of' Featurette featuring interviews with original cast members. Dracula, Prince Of Darkness has been restored in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and scanned at 2K resolution from the original negatives stored at Pinewood Studios.

Over the course of 2012, the project will see subsequent remastered HD releases of The Reptile and The Plague of Zombies in May; and The Devil Rides Out, Rasputin The Mad Monk and The Mummy's Shroud later in the year in a continuation of StudioCanal's commitment to investing and restoring the best of British Cinema.

"Dracula, Prince Of Darkness is a superb horror film, deliciously Sixties and horrifically scary" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

Understatement Of The Film — Helen Kent: "There'll be no morning for us."