Horror of Dracula

April 1, 2016 at 1:22 am (9 Heads, Horror of Dracula) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Horror of Dracula – 1958 – England

Horror of Dracula (known as Dracula outside of the United States) is the third filmic adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula (1897). It is preceded by Universal Pictures’ Dracula (1931) and Nosferatu (1922), although Nosferatu was an unofficial adaptation which resulted in a lawsuit. Horror of Dracula was produced by Hammer Film Productions and features many Hammer regulars such as actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, director Terence Fisher, and writer Jimmy Sangster.

Horror of Dracula’s plot roughly follows Bram Stoker’s novel although the characters’ roles and personalities have been changed (i.e. Jonathan and Mina Harker are siblings). The film captures the novel’s atmosphere of danger and horror very well, spicing it up with Hammer’s signature combination of sublime eeriness, graphic violence, and understated sensuousness.

Horror of Dracula may be Hammer’s most lavish production. The writing, direction, and acting are all superb. However, the sets and locations might be the film’s most impressive asset, especially Dracula’s cavernous castle furnished with arabesque antiques. The other sets have interesting props on display too. Particularly notable is an automated mechanical music player, as well as Dr. Van Helsing’s audio cylinder recorder and microphone. The costumes are also great and Van Helsing is very snazzy in his burgundy satin jacket.

Rating: 9/10 Shrunken Heads. Horror of Dracula is the finest example of Hammer’s period horror films.

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