course, "Horror of Dracula" is not the
first neither the only movie refering to the famous vampyre,
Dracula, but it's the one I prefer. In fact it is
the third adaptation of the well known noval by Bram Stocker
and the first one in colour. The previous movies were Nosferatu (1921)
in Germany, et Dracula
(1931) in the States.
The strongest points of the film are the
central performances by Christopher
Lee and Peter Cushing. Cushing, as always, is
flawless making the Van Helsing character his own. Similarly,
Lee, in his very first outing as the vampire, gave Count
Dracula a new identity - no mean achievement considering the
effect that Lugosi had over the years.
Despite the fact that he had only 13
lines in the film, Lee brings a hypnotic attractiveness to
go with his imposing physical presence. Dracula was Hammer's
first and possibly best attempt at what became a very
successful franchise for them. It is also a prime example of
Hammer at their best. Atmospheric, well acted and thoroughly
The film's story loosely resembles the novel with the
characters only being based on Stoker's creations. The
situation is also changed with the London episode of the
novel being completely written out of the film script.
Instead, the film is set entirely in the village of
Klausenberg somewhere in the Carpathian Mountains. Jonathan
Harker, makes his way to Castle Dracula, where he has been
employed as a librarian by the aristocratic owner, Count
However, he soon finds himself not only
the focus of attention of one of the female vampire
inhabitants but also a prisoner of the Count. We find out
quite soon that Harker was in fact working with eminent
Vampire hunter, Dr. Van Helsing in an attempt to rid the
world of the evil of Count Dracula.
Unfortunately for Harker, he becomes a
victim of the Count while his fiancée also falls prey to a
strange anemia. Meanwhile Van Helsing battles against time
to find the vampire and destroy him once and for all.