Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Sexy Female Vamps of Hammer Horrors Dracula

If you ask anyone around the world about the most famous characters in British film in the 1960's and 70's two names would always pop up.  James Bond and Dracula.  Seemingly the two chacaters have a lot in commons (outside of the fact that Christopher Lee himself starred as the main villain of the James Bond Film "The Man with the Golden Gun".

Once Hammer Studio's got a hold of the rights to do a color film adaptation of Dracula and put their own spin on it there was no going back. Sexy womanizer Dracula and his busty seductive vampire brides were a huge draw. In all, 9 Dracula films were made (not counting 1960's Brides of Dracula which I review HERE) and in all of them Dracula had new sexy females to leave his mark on.  While there are several tributes to Bond girls, the Dracula girls rarely get love.  That is until now.  Here is a list of the sexy female vampires of Hammer Horror's Dracula. 

Valerie Gaunt (Horror of Dracula, 1958)
You always remember your first and this is the first vampiress babe of the Hammer Horror era.  That also makes her the first to pull the whole "I'm a damsel in distress" act to trick a guy (in this case Jonathon Harker) into getting close enough for her to get a bite in, which becomes a bit of of a running gag of sorts in the Dracula films as it happens quite a bit.  I guess Dracula never taught his brides the "seduce them into a false sense of security" trick used by the Karnsteins

Carol Marsh (Lucy Holmwood: "Horror of Dracula", 1958)
Lucy as those who know the original story are aware is unknowingly to those around her including her fiance being seduced and slowly drained by Dracula until she eventually dies and comes back in hopes of having a child snack.  Since this film was based on the original story, that has not changed and just like in the story Lucy unfortunately does not survive long after she has turned.

Barbera Shelley (Helen Kent: "Dracula: Prince of Darkness", 1966)
 In the first sequel to the franchise Helen is a member of a family who ends up staying at Castle Dracula despite warnings from the villagers in the era.  Her husband is eventually murdered there and his blood is used to revive Dracula who then bites and turns Helen in order to keep her for himself.  In another re-occurring theme in Dracula movies, once she is turned she becomes very ambitious and attempts to go after her sister in law Diana whom Dracula has already laid claim too.  This is one of the few movies in which it doesn't lead to domestic violence since Diana's husband Charles butts in and Dracula attempts to use Helen to take out Charles. 

Barbera Ewing (Zena "Dracula has Risen from the Grave" (1968))
In this film Dracula uses Zena to help him capture a hot blonde name "Maria".  When she fails at her attempt, he drains her dry.  Though she doesn't become a vampire per se, she does develop a set of fangs postmortem prior to her body being disposed of.

 Isla Blair (Lucy Paxton: "Taste the Blood of Dracula" (1970))
In what I think was an ultra weird plot, Dracula takes revenge on a group of men who killed one of his minions that brought him back to life.  His method of revenge was a confusing set of circumstances where he turned people close to those he was after and had them do the work.  Lucy's part of the plan was to turn her boyfriend and with the help of a hot blonde named Alice (who is the daughter of one of the guys being hunted who she kills her self after being under Dracula's spell) kill one of the guys (which she does).   While she wasn't bad looking at all the thing that blows my mind is that Dracula didn't turn Alice who I thought would have made an absolutely SEXY vampire (the problem being he waited to long as he does attempt to turn her in the end).  Alice is played by Linda Hayden and lucky for us she does play a vampire briefly in the film Old Dracula

Anouska Hempel (Tania: "Scars of Dracula" (1970))
The New Zealand born hotty was in a scene in this film which almost mirrored the scene done with Valerie Gaunt in the first film.  During the beginning of the film a man named Paul who is falsely accused of rape escapes atop a carriage which drops him off near Dracula's castle where her character "Tania" lives with the count.  She (much like Gaunt) pulls the "I'm a prisoner, please help me" routine just to sleep with Paul and then tries to bite him afterword.  As usual Dracula catches her in the act but in this case he kills her for it (I guess he's tired of his brides trying to screw and bite every guy who comes by the castle).

 The Brides ("Satanic Rites of Dracula" (1974))
The last of the Hammer Dracula films to star Christopher Lee takes place in modern day (as in 1974) England and follows the story of British authorities attempt to find the origin of a satanic cult that killed a secret service agent.  In the basement of the cults supposed leader was four female vampires chained to their coffins and held inside by a light beam.  Once Dr. Van Helsings granddaughter decides to explore the cellar instead of staying put she almost gets bitten herself as she was almost fooled into unchaining the secret service secretary who was also stored in the cellar who had already been turned.
 Once Jane realizes whats going on she had already been ambushed by the other four female vampires (played by Maggie Fitzgerald, Fionnuala O'shannon, Mia Martin and Pauline Peart) and had to be rescued by the other investigators.

Historically Pearts role would make this the first time a black vampire of any kind would appear in a hammer film.

Barbera Yu Lin (Chin Yank, "Satanic Rites of Dracula" (1974))
Chin Yang is the one who was believed to be the mastermind of the satanic cult.  Of course we all know it was really Dracula but it was nice of him to give the credit to someone else for a change.  Not to mention she's a female and she is also the first Asian vampire to appear in a Hammer horror film.  The scene in which she turns is pretty hot where she pulls the now stereotypical "I'm a damsel in distress and Dracula is holding me prisoner" line followed by her hypnotizing Inspector Murray before attempting to bite him (tho it doesn't turn out well for her of course but on the bright side foot fetishists will love her death scene either way).
Julie Ege (Vanessa Buren "Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires" (1974))
In the final film of Hammer Horrors Dracula Saga, Julie plays a wealthy widow that hires a group of martial artists to find and kill a group of vampires who attempted to kill her (the main of which has been possessed by the spirit of Count Dracula).  In one of the final scenes of the film, one of the 7 deadly vampires does get their hands on her and bites her.  Immediately she turns and bites one of the fighters she sent to kill the vampires who then impales both her and himself.  Unlike the other movies in the series there is no Christopher Lee and it is categorized more as a martial arts action film than that of your average dark, cerebral Dracula film.  I guess what I'm saying is this one is definitely an acquired taste. 

1 comment:

  1. Hammer was a master at pushing the socials mores of the time to its maximum with these vampire women, especially Barbara Shelley with her awesome "you don't need Charles" line.