Rakesh's movie talk
Horror of Dracula (1958)

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Directed by Terence Fisher
Written by Jimmy Sangster (based on novel by Bram Stoker)
Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough and Melissa Stribling


I am not a fan of Hammer films, much less familiar with their productions. All I know is that they are the British equivalent of Roger Corman who specialises in producing cheap horror movies.

But watching this movie, I was wrong. This is a brilliant production, as this and the original 1931 will be the precursor to another brilliant film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Coppola).

This is the film that brought the star status out of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The former later finds fame in the TV Sherlock Holmes series (his and Jeremy Brett’s interpretations are my favourite on TV), while Lee, who had other jobs to do till today, will forever be remembered as Dracula. Until Lord of The Ring movies came of course.

The movie is not entirely faithful to the book, maybe only 75%, but let me tell you something; I read the book and find it too dangerous to film in accuracy, since it really drags. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was more fast paced and was certainly full of suspense, and ends in tragedy. Fascinating read, and far superior to Stoker’s book.

In the original Jonathan Harker goes to Dracula’s castle, to answer the Count’s inquisition on certain property in London. In this film, Harker goes as some kind of Librarian, when he is actually a Vampire slayer. Much of what happens in the castle stays with the book, until Harker kills one of Dracula’s babes. Dracula gets pissed and he comes to London for revenge.

Then, Cushing’s Van Helsing steps in and we are all in for lots of thrills and spills. The suspense sequences, the ambience may very much be product of its time, but the performance of its two leads makes this film timeless.

I enjoyed this film tremendously and glad that I have a copy of the VCD.