Horror of Dracula - Mania.com

DVD Review

Maniac Grade: B

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Horror of Dracula

February 26, 2007

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Dracula (1958) starring Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, and as the title character Christopher Lee.

After Jonathan Harker attacks Dracula (Lee) at his castle (apparently somewhere in Germany), the vampire travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker's fiancée. The only one who may be able to protect them is Dr. van Helsing (Cushing), Harker's friend and fellow-student of vampires, who is determined to destroy Dracula, whatever the cost.

The Studio that dripped blood, Hammer Studios, answered the public thirst for more horror films after Universal Studio stopped making horror films. The Horror of Dracula or just Dracula is loosely based on Bram Stoker novel. Loosely based, so Hammer had some fun with changing some of the characters around, but all in all they were out to tell a story and make a few bucks doing it.

As movies go today the film is slow and you keep waiting for Van Helsing to show up in the beginning. A film like this is essential viewing as are many of the Hammer Horror films because these works inspired the likes of Tim Burton and many of today’s macabre directors. I watched the film in the same mind set as you play an old video game. It maybe slow and the quality is so so by today’s standards but it is still fun to play/watch nonetheless. Why is it still fun? Because everyone involved is there to tell a frightening story and to scare you or at least maybe the person next to you.

Cushing and Lee are superb in this their first leading speaking roles opposite one another. It is clear why these two were in so many films together. Cushing, who portrays both a reasonable and intelligent man, is perfectly cast against Lee who was the perfect elegant savage. I considered it a treat to watch these two actors in their prime.

The early work in Hammer’s Horror series is still top notch and nothing compared to its repetitive inane sequels that featured the aging Cushing and the new “it” girl with the gigantic cleavage.

If you are a true film scholar or fan of movies, I recommend starting with the Horror of Dracula or even the Curse of Frankenstein. You’ll see a different take on Universals Classic movie monsters and your eyes will open to the beauty and ecstasy of the studio that dripped blood.

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