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Plot Edit

A gloomy wood is seen as voice is heard, saying: "Transylvania, land of dark forests, dread mountains and black unfathomable lakes. Still the home of magic and devilry as the nineteenth century draws to its close. Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires is dead. But his disciples live on to spread the cult and corrupt the world..."

Marianne Danielle, a young French schoolteacher en route to take up a position in Transylvania, is abandoned at a village inn by her coach driver. Ignoring the warnings of the locals, she accepts the offer of Baroness Meinster to spend the night at her castle. There, she sees the Baroness's son, who she is told is insane and kept confined. When she sneaks into his quarters to meet a man she thinks is suicidal, she is shocked to find him chained by his leg to the wall, and when he tells her that his mother has usurped his rightful lands and pleads for her help, she agrees to steal the key to his chain from the Baroness' bedroom. Discovering this, the Baroness is horrified; yet when her son appears, she obeys him and accompanies him back to his rooms. Later, Marianne discovers the Baroness' servant Greta, who has also taken care of the Baron since he was a baby, in hysterics: She shows Marianne the Baroness' corpse, and the puncture marks in her throat. Marianne flees into the night.

She is found, fainted in the forest, by Dr. Van Helsing the following morning. She doesn't remember all that has happened, nor is she familiar when asked about the words "undead" or "vampirism." He escorts her to the school where she's to be employed.

When Van Helsing reaches the village inn, he finds there is a funeral in progress. A young girl has been found dead in the woods with wounds upon her throat. He contacts Father Stepnik, who had requested Van Helsing's presence, having suspicions about the castle and the Baroness. He tries to dissuade the girl's father from burying her but he doesn't listen, allowing more time for her transformation to be completed. Sure enough, that night the village girl rises from her grave, aided by Greta, as witnessed by Van Helsing and Father Stepnik. The newly vampirised village girl flees while Greta holds off the two men. Van Helsing goes to the castle and discovers the Baroness, now risen as a vampire herself, as well as the Baron. After a brief scuffle, the Baron flees, abandoning his mother who, in her undead state, is full of self-loathing and guilt. After sunrise the next morning, Van Helsing "releases" her with a wooden stake.

The Baron, meanwhile, visits Marianne at the school and asks her to marry him. She accepts, much to the good-natured envy of her roommate Gina. Once Gina is alone, however, Baron Meinster appears and drains her blood. When Van Helsing visits the next day, he finds the school in a small uproar over Gina's death. He orders that her body be placed in a horse stable with people watching it until he returns. That night, Marianne relieves the headmaster's wife of her watch. Initially she is with the stable keeper, when, in a scene derived from M. R. James' "Count Magnus," one of the padlocks on the coffin falls off without unlocking. Serverin, going outside to fetch another lock, is killed by a vampire bat (presumably the Baron or the village girl) while inside the last lock falls from the coffin. The coffin lid is pushed opened and Gina rises, now a vampire, and smiles her newly formed fangs at Marianne. She approaches Marianne, asking forgiveness for "letting him love me," and asks to "kiss" her. She also reveals the whereabouts of the Baron, who is hiding at the old mill.

Van Helsing discovers the body of Severin, and enters the stable, saving Marianne from being bitten by Gina, who then flees. Van Helsing takes Marianne back to the school to calm her down. Marianne doesn't want to believe that the Gina or the Baron are vampires but Van Helsing confirms that the Gina she knows is indeed dead and has come back as a vampire bride loyal to the Baron who will have no qualms attacking her or the school if not stopped. Reluctantly, Marianne tells Van Helsing what Gina told her. The vampire hunter goes to the old mill and is confronted by both of Meinster's "Brides" as well as Greta, who, as a human, isn't repelled by the cross. Greta is killed in a fall but the cross falls into the well below the mill and is now out of Van Helsing's reach as the Baron arrives, brandishing a length of chain. In the fight that follows, the Baron manages to subdue Van Helsing and bites him, inflicting him with vampirism before leaving. When Van Helsing wakes, he realizes what has happened. He heats a metal tool in a brazier until it is red hot, then cauterises his throat wound and pours holy water on it to purify it. The wounds disappear as Gina and the village girl watch from the rafters, shocked that Van Helsing overcame a vampire bite.

Baron Meinster, meanwhile, abducts Marianne from the school and brings her to the mill, intending to vampirise her in front of Van Helsing. As Meinster attempts to hypnotise her, to make her compliant to his will, Van Helsing seizes the canteen of holy water and throws its contents into the Baron's face, which sears him like acid. Meinster kicks over the brazier of hot coals, starting a fire, and flees outside. Van Helsing takes Marianne up into the mill, then out via the huge sails, which he moves to form the shadow a gigantic cross over Baron Meinster, who is killed by it. Fate of the female vampires is left open.

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Cast Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Is included on disc 1, side A of the Hammer Horror Series DVD collection.
  • Holds fresh score of 73% in Rotten Tomatoes.

External Links Edit

References Edit

Hammer Horror
This article relates to the films produced under the "Hammer Horror" banner of Hammer Film Productions. This template will categorize articles that include it into the Hammer Film Productions category.