While it's a bit of a bugaboo for some fans, I've always considered BRIDES OF DRACULA to be the first sequel to HORROR OF DRACULA. So how does it hold up? Actually, quite well and it's one of my very favorite Hammers!
Since the movies are British, let's use a British analogy: HoD is Prince William and BoD is his younger brother, Harry. Prince William is stately and refined. Harry knows he's #2 in line, so the pressure is off! He's always been a little more of a loose cannon, fun and jovial, yet still respectful of his place in history. And so goes BRIDES OF DRACULA. It's fun, scary and energetic, and takes a few more chances with the vampire legend, yet it remains firmly entrenched in the world of Hammer. This one is Peter Cushing's all the way, although I also love David Peel's Baron Meinster. There's been a lot of hand-wringing over the years about Peel and his comparison to Christopher Lee, but he's not Dracula, so it's not a fair argument. Meinster is a disciple of the Count, and Peel plays him marvelously; suave and smooth, yet oozing with evil. "Mother----come here." Just let those words roll around in your head for a bit.
Brides is good, ol' fashioned vampire mayhem at its best. There are so many classic scenes; the curtains, the vampire girl digging herself out of her grave, Van Helsing's first encounter with Meinster, Meinster's attack on Van Helsing and the subsequent "cleansing" of the wound. And don't forget the eerie organ music! All in all, it's Hammer at the top of their game. Highly, highly recommended.