Dracula (The Horror of Dracula) (1958)

dracula-1958
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are great

Doesn't follow the book

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dracula (The Horror of Dracula)

Studio:  Hammer Film Productions

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 8, 1958

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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So care to give me some of that delicious, yummy blood?

Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) travels to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula (Christopher Lee). When he meets his untimely fate at the hands of Dracula after killing his bride (Valerie Gaunt), Harker’s friend Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) goes searching for him only to find him the victim of a vampire. When Van Helsing returns to England to deliver the news, he discovers Harker’s fiance Lucy (Carol Marsh) has become Dracula’s target. As the vampire plague continues, Dracula sets his sights on Lucy’s sister-in-law Mina (Melissa Stribling) and only Van Helsing and Mina’s husband Arthur (Michael Gough) can stop him.

Directed by Terence Fisher, Dracula was a Hammer film released in 1958 and renamed The Horror of Dracula for the American release due to the fact that the classic 1931 Bela Lugosi Dracula was still occasionally showing in theaters. The movie was well received and led to multiple Dracula film roles for Christopher Lee at Hammer Pictures.

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Everyone gets a bite!

Dracula (or The Horror of Dracula) is a fun movie and surprisingly bloody for when it was released. It helps that Hammer had nice bright colors and when the blood flowed, it flowed crimson red. Other great effects included Christopher Lee’s bloodshot red eyes and Dracula’s crumbling decay under the sun for the climatic conclusion.

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing do a lot to move this movie forward. Cushing is a good stoic Dr. Van Helsing who really jumps into action when he’s out to slay. Christopher Lee doesn’t have much in the way of dialogue, but he really holds the screen once he does come on. The guy just looks crazy. This Dracula also isn’t afraid to move…if he has to run, and it is scarier to me that he would pounce on his victims rather than simply hypnotize them.

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Mmmmm, mmmmm good!

The story of course abridges Dracula since most versions do change the script. Harker dies and Mina is the wife of Lucy’s brother some of the biggest changes. It barely resembles the story but the basic themes are there with the horror aspect elevated with even a couple of jumps mixed in.

Dracula is a great example of the classic Hammer style. It still looks good today and is a great way to introduce kids to horror. Younger kids will find it too scary with Christopher Lee giving it his all. Peter Cushing was around for the follow-up sequel The Brides of Dracula in 1960, but Christopher Lee didn’t return as Dracula until Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1966.

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Related Links:

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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