Visually resplendent masterpiece of color and fairytale atmosphere, The Brides of Dracula (1960) is my favorite movie. (Tarantino? Whose that? Bah!) Baroness Meinster (Martita Hunt) is one of it´s most interesting characters.
Gorgeously elegant old woman in black, red and purple, with sumptuous taste , Baroness is not – thankfully – “tainted, monstrous matriarch” of the original script “Disciple of Dracula” by Jimmy Sangster, which predictably linked old age – especially in women – to monstrosity. (The script was rewritten by Peter Bryan, who retitled it The Brides of Dracula, and polished by Edward Percy). In her first scenes Baroness is infuriatingly haughty to the kind peasant couple who tries to protect Marianne (Hammer´s most ravishing glamour girl, played by red-head Yvonne Monlaur). However, she is soon revealed to be a character, whose actions – spoiling her evil young son – have come to haunt her conscience, and she ends to be Hammer´s only vampire who does not want the vampire existence!
Martita Hunt, Yvonne Monlaur and Freda Jackson.