Review (Horror of) Dracula (1958)

Discussion in 'Hammer Film Productions' started by Doctor Omega, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Dracula is a 1958 British horror film directed by Terence Fisher and written by Jimmy Sangster based on Bram Stoker's novel of the same name. The first in the series of Hammer Horror films starring Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, this original also features Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing, along with Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, and John Van Eyssen. In the U.S. the film was retitled Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the earlier Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi, and the film was released in the U.S. in 1958 on a double bill with the Universal film The Thing That Couldn't Die.

    Production began at Bray Studios on 17 November 1957 with an investment of £81,000.[2] As Count Dracula, Lee fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture.[4] In 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw it ranked the 65th best British film ever.


    Reception

    Dracula was a critical and commercial success upon its release and was well received by critics and fans of Stoker's works. The film currently scores 91% on review aggregatorwebsite Rotten Tomatoes based on 32 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Trading gore for grandeur, Horror of Dracula marks an impressive turn for inveterate Christopher Lee as the titular vampire, and a typical Hammer mood that makes aristocracy quite sexy."[6]

    The trade journal reviews from 1958 were very positive. Film Bulletin noted, "As produced by Anthony Hinds in somber mid-Victorian backgrounds . . . and directed by Terence Fisher with an immense flair for the blood-curdling shot, this Technicolor nightmare should prove a real treat. The James Bernard score is monumentally sinister and the Jack Asher photography full of foreboding atmosphere."[7]

    Harrison's Reports was particularly enthusiastic, "Of all the "Dracula" horror pictures thus far produced, this one, made in Britain and photographed in Technicolor, tops them all. Its shock impact is, in fact, so great that it may well be considered as one of the best horror films ever made. What makes this picture superior is the expert treatment that takes full advantage of the story's shock values."[8]

    Vincent Canby in Motion Picture Daily said, "Hammer Films, the same British production unit which last year restored Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to its rightful place in the screen's chamber of horrors, has now even more successfully brought back the granddaddy of all vampires, Count Dracula. It's chillingly realistic in detail (and at times as gory as the law allows). The physical production is first rate, including the settings, costumes, Eastman Color photography and special effects.".



     
    #1 Doctor Omega, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  2. chainsaw_metal1

    chainsaw_metal1 Member: Rank 8

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    Most definitely the best of the batch. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were at the top of their respective games in this one.
     
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  3. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Horror of Dracula the restored ending




     
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  4. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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  5. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    I just found the following on my travels......

    Have never heard of it.........
     
  6. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

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    Dracula in Pakistan (aka, The Living Corpse, 1967) - Excerpt no. 1



    Compare this 1967 Pakistani film with the 1958 Hammer horror film Dracula, aka Horror of Dracula. The plot of this eight-minute sequence mirrors the 1958 film exactly, with a man arriving at a castle, finding it empty, being greeted by an initially ominous-looking aristocrat who turns out to be charming, then being shown to his room. The man takes a photo of his lover from his case, at which point the aristocrat returns and admires the portrait. Note the sets and camera setups, identical in several details to those of Bernard Robinson and Jack Asher, respectively, in Hammer's earlier film. Just after the five-minute mark, we hear the (shamelessly stolen) music of James Bernard.




     
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  7. Doctor Omega

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    • Love it! Love it! x 1

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