Published On: Mon, Apr 30th, 2018

Horror Of Dracula Since 1958

In the late fifties, UK production company Hammer Films found good fortune in a new formula for creating more commercially viable pictures. In 1957, they took the story of Frankenstein and slightly retooled the plot, creating The Curse of Frankenstein. With a barely brand new story, they would proceed to cut corners in every facet of production, splurging only to sign big name British actors such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, as well as to develop set design.

Dawn of the Dead

As the film gained notoriety across the world, the profitability of their system was realized as they set forth on reinventing another classic horror icon, Dracula. Hammer’s primary focus for Horror of Dracula was to bring back it’s principals from Frankenstein, including thespians Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee as well as director Terence Fisher, and it is this same triumverate that keeps this otherwise painfully cheap film afloat.

While Bela Lugosi introduced a classic demonic charm to the character as he lures his victims, Lee plays more the force of nature, a predatory evil that looks to dominate it’s prey; where Lugosi is a bat, Lee is a wolf. This breath of fresh air into an otherwise overused, stale stereotype, keeps the film interesting. As Dracula’s eternal enemy, Dr. Van Helsing, Cushing proves a resourceful foil to the inhuman Count.

It never feels like either of the actors are just phoning in performances. It’s not the movie isn’t terrible, it is bad, but these actors so genuinely enjoy working with each other that it shines through their characters. Few cinematic pairings have proven more long-lasting or effective as these two. For his end, director Fisher does more than his part as well, keeping the film moving at a rather blurry pace (the whole movie is under 90 minutes). Indeed, if the film were longer, it probably would have fallen flat on it’s face.

The film takes various liberties with the source material. It sacrifices the classic story for cheap terror. Any truly horrific, or possibly expensive, moments are left to the viewer’s imagination. It’s questionable why some scenes even exist in the film, but for all of it’s practical faults, it only builds it’s image of a king B-movie.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade.

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