This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Dracula

Jonathan Harker, posing as a librarian, arrives at Castle Dracula. After the exchange of courtesies Count Dracula shows Harker to his room, but as Dracula leaves he locks the door behind him, locking Harker in the room making him his prisoner. It's here where Harker begins writing in his diary and we then become aware of Harker's true intentions for coming to Castle Dracula; to kill Dracula. After a period of time of being locked in his castle, Harker manages to get his journal sent off to Dr Van Helsing. Harker then attempts to kill Dracula, but Dracula was ready for him. Van Helsing gets Harker's journal, then goes to Castle Dracula only to find a vampire Harker resting in a coffin, he takes no hesitation in staking his long time friend. Van Helsing then leaves to deliver the news to Arthur Holmwood, Mina and Lucy. Lucy of which is ill, which it is later discovered that she has been bitten by a vampire. She later dies at the hands of Dracula. Soon after Van Helsing and Holmwood lay siege to Castle Dracula to once and for all kill Count Dracula.



Dracula is a 1958 Hammer Production directed by Terence Fisher. It stars Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, Peter Cushing as Dr Van Helsing and Michael Gough as Arthur Holmwood. It marked Hammer's second reinvention of a classic screen monster after 1957's The Curse of Frankenstein. The film is in several ways different to the original Bram Stoker novel. It cuts bits out of the book, it changes locations and aspects of characters; notably in this film Jonathan Harker is a librarian and a vampire hunter whereas in the novel he was a solicitor who knew nothing about Dracula being a vampire. Another key change is that sunlight kills Dracula in the film, whereas in the novel sunlight only weakens his powers. The film was renamed Horror of Dracula in the US to avoid confusion with 1931's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.

I love this film, I think it's brilliant. I think its the best of the three Hammer reinvention films, the others being The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy. As always with a Hammer starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, the acting is great. They are both well cast as Dracula and Van Helsing. Christopher Lee is perfect as Dracula, as the character talks very little in the whole film Dracula has to evoke fear by his physical presence which Lee is perfect for. As he has the menacing height of 6' 5'' and can express dark, sinister and at times creepy facial expressions, this results in a classic portrayal of a classic icon of horror. Peter Cushing is brilliant as Van Helsing, he exerts a considerable amount of energy into the role, especially in the final scenes where he gives chase after Dracula. Van Helsing is always enjoyable to watch with his vast knowledge of the supernatural and basically his very interesting persona. Van Helsing proves his doctor status, but he's not just any old doctor he's The Fonz equivalent to a doctor, as he cures a woman of her shocked and horrified state, after seeing Dracula which has resulted in her stuttering, by slapping her in the face to which she can instantly speak perfectly. This film is great, it has all the classic Hammer elements; horror, suspense, Gothic atmospheric tone, (for the time) strong violence and great melodramatic acting. This is one of my all time favourite Hammer Horrors, I don't actually have any problems with the film, so for that reason I can't fault it.

Dracula 5/5

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