As I write these entries I realize how disparate and varied my taste in horror movies has become over the years. I do love gothic horror and vampires are my monsters of choice. Sometimes it’s the story alone that makes the movie compelling, others it’s the performances, and sometimes it’s the special effects. The really good ones combine all three.
How many legendary actors can we cram in one horror movie? Four. Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and John Houseman star in this, well, ghost story. They play four pals who fall in love with the same girl (Alice Krige, Sleepwalkers). An unfortunate accident results in the girl’s untimely demise. As these four young men of breeding are meant for
bog big [hahaha, Freudian slip] things beyond the Ivy League, they cover it up instead of going to the cops. Decades later, the spirit of the dead girl creatively exacts her revenge. Ghost stories are difficult to do well and this one is done well.
Justin Long, yes that Justin Long who used to pitch Apple computers, and Gina Philips star as brother and sister who, while driving home from college for a visit and obligatory laundry stop, run afoul of a flying demon who chooses his victims by virtue of his sense of smell. Like a cicada, the demon arises every so many years to prey on hapless young people. You’ll never listen to “jeepers creepers, where’d you get those peepers,” the same way again.
- Dracula Has Risen from the Grave – 1968
Christopher Lee made a career out of playing the legendary vampire count from Transylvania for Hammer Studios. This entry, the fourth in the Dracula series, and the third with Lee in the title role, is my least favorite on this list. Rupert Davies and Veronica Carlson also star. It is infinitely better than say Dracula A.D. 1972 or The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, but not nearly as good, in my estimation, as other Hammer Dracula films I include later in the countdown. I’m sure the Hammer Horror fan group that I belong to on Facebook would disagree.