Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Dracula Prince of Darkness (1965)


Main image of Dracula Prince of Darkness (1965)
DirectorTerence Fisher
Production CompanyHammer Film Productions
ProducerAnthony Nelson Keys
ScreenplayJohn Sansom
Original ideaJohn Elder
Original charactersBram Stoker
CinematographyMichael Reed
MusicJames Bernard

Cast: Christopher Lee (Dracula), Barbara Shelley (Helen), Andrew Keir (Father Sandor), Francis Matthews (Charles Kent), Suzan Farmer (Diana Kent), Thorley Walters (Ludwig)

Show full cast and credits

Dracula's butler, Klove, lures four British tourists to Castle Dracula, where he uses the blood of one of them to bring the Count back to life. Once resurrected, Dracula sets off after Diana, intending to initiate her into the ranks of the undead and take her as his bride.

Show full synopsis

Dracula - Prince of Darkness was the eagerly awaited sequel to Hammer's groundbreaking Dracula (d. Terence Fisher, 1958), if one discounts Fisher's Brides of Dracula (which did not involve the Count himself.

A popular myth alleges that the lines written for Dracula were so bad that Christopher Lee chose to play the film silent. While it is true that Lee utters no dialogue throughout, internal memos show his agreement to record a TV trailer for the production with extremely poor lines, suggesting that the decision to play the part silent was taken by Fisher.

John Trevelyan, the director of the BBFC at the time, felt strongly about the violence in the film. He argued that the film "will, of course, be one for the 'X' category," and that the repeated stabbing of Alan should be toned down and his subsequent decapitation removed. In addition, he felt Alan's body should not be held upside down and the blood should not be excessive.

The Motion Picture Association of America also objected to Alan's decapitation, and to Shandor's line "Pleasure in this life is important, there is little enough of it in the hereafter," which was deemed to be "a rather tasteless remark to be made by a clergyman."

In the finished production, Shandor's line was changed to "Pleasure in this life is important - What are the alternatives? Hellfire and Brimstone or..." (looks up towards Heaven). The violence was also toned down in accordance with the censor's wishes - Klove slits Alan's throat instead of decapitating him, although he is still held upside down with copious amounts of blood flowing into Dracula's coffin. The shot of a stake entering Helen's heart was also removed.

The film cost £220,000 to make, and it is clear from the production budget that Hammer's emphasis was on the visual aspects of the story, with the majority of the money devoted to the art department, camera crews, editing and sets and models.

However, the film was certainly successful, and by January 1968 had made £463,000 worldwide, with £132,000 from the UK alone. This figure was before television receipts, so it is safe to assume that the film ultimately made well in excess of three times its production cost.

Paul Moody

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Sandor's warning (3:31)
2. Dracula's resurrection (3:39)
3. A necessary evil (2:48)
Original posters
Production stills
Monthly Film Bulletin review
Dracula (1958)
Fisher, Terence (1904-1980)
Hinds, Anthony (1922-2013)
Lee, Christopher (1922-)
Hammer Horror