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DVD Review: Horror of Dracula (1958)

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Horror of Dracula  (1958)

Directed by Terence Fisher

DVD Review: Horror of Dracula (1958)Although Horror of Dracula is based on Bram Stoker's novel the story is very different. In the novel Jonathan Harker visits Castle Dracula in order to help the Count purchase some property abroad. In Horror of Dracula Harker arrives at the castle under the pretence of wanting to work as the Count's new librarian, while in actual fact he is a close friend of Dr Van Helsing and has every intention of driving a stake through the Count's heart at the earliest opportunity. Harker might have been better sticking to his books because things don't go to plan. By the time Van Helsing comes looking for his friend even Harker's own Dentist wouldn't recognize him and the doctor is forced to resolve the situation the only way that he knows how: with a large hammer and a wooden stake.

Before Harker gained his fatal smile he succeeded in hammering a stake through the heart of the Count's only companion, a female vampire who was sleeping in the coffin beside him. Because of this Dracula decides it is only fair that he should claim Harker's fiancee, Lucy Holmwood, as a replacement and even as Van Helsing arrives at Castle Dracula the Count's carriage is speeding out through the gates.

When Van Helsing goes to break the bad news of Harker's death to Lucy he discovers that she is very ill. He only has to check her neck to see the reason why and does his best to protect her from the Count by filling her room with garlic. Unfortunately, Lucy is already under Dracula's spell and persuades her maid to remove the offensive plants.

After Lucy's death her brother Arthur blames Van Helsing for bringing them bad luck and it is only when he sees his undead sister strolling through the graveyard that he believes the doctor's story and decides to help him bring an end to Dracula once and for all.

Horror of Dracula was Christopher Lee's first Dracula movie. Many more followed and a lot of people consider him to be the best Dracula to ever plague a person's nightmares. They may have a point. The sight of Christopher Lee with blood shot eyes and a vampire smile is a very impressive sight indeed. The blood around his mouth is less impressive, but when the film was made (1958) fake blood tended to look more fake than blood, and it is Dracula's eyes that draw the attention anyway.

The part of Van Helsing is played by Peter Cushing and it is always good to see any movie where these two great acting talents [Cushing and Lee] were afforded the chance to work together.

Carol Marsh plays Lucy, and Melissa Stribling is Lucy's sister-in-law, Mina, and they both make very convincing victims for the Count. The vampire is a corruptive force and both these girls put on a good show of being corrupted by Dracula. They are not ignorant of his visits, but keep them secret, almost as if he were a secret lover, which, in a way I suppose he is. Then when the Count comes for them their expressions fluctuate from apprehension to fear, to desire, and somewhere in that mix an added dash of uncertainty is thrown in for good measure.

Horror of Dracula DVD

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Good wins over evil in the end and the Count is turned to dust. The transformation scene is rather good as well. It isn't gory or messy, but it has (dare I say it) a charm all of its own and is fascinating to watch.

~Related Pages~

        CAST

Christopher Lee     ...     Count Dracula
 Peter Cushing        ...     Doctor Van Helsing


 Michael Gough       ...     Arthur Holmwood
 Melissa Stribling     ...     Mina Holmwood
 Carol Marsh           ...     Lucy Holmwood
 Olga Dickie            ...     Gerda
 John Van Eyssen    ...     Jonathan Harker
 Valerie Gaunt         ...     Vampire Woman
 
 Janina Faye            ...     Tania
 Barbara Archer       ...     Inga
 Charles Lloyd Pack ...     Dr. Seward
 George Merritt        ...     Policeman
 George Woodbridge ...    Landlord
 George Benson        ...    Frontier Official
 Miles Malleson        ...    Undertaker
 Geoffrey Bayldon    ...    Porter
 Paul Cole                ...    Lad

DVD Information:

Runtime

78 minutes

Aspect Ratio

1.66:1

Language

English

Sound

Mono

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