Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula's servants, Lord Courtley. In a ... See full summary »
A young man, Paul Carlson, is on a trip and spends the night at count Dracula's castle. Needless to say, he is murdered. After some time has passed, the young man's brother Simon comes to ... See full summary »
Roy Ward Baker
In London in the 1970s, Scotland Yard police investigators think they have uncovered a case of vampirism. They call in an expert vampire researcher named Van Helsing (a descendant of the ... See full summary »
After Jonathan Harker attacks Dracula 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, Harker's friend and fellow-student of vampires, who is determined to destroy Dracula, whatever the cost. Written by
About quarter of an hour into the film, immediately following the scene where Dracula attacks Harker and then carries the vampire woman out from the library, there is an establishing shot of the outside of Dracula's castle. It looks motionless, but on closer inspection, a dark figure can be seen rushing past the bushes around the entrance to the castle. The most probable explanation is that it is in fact the top of Dracula's carriage, and the shot was originally filmed for the scene a few minutes later when the carriage rushes past Van Helsing on his first trip to the castle. However, the carriage is so indistinguishable in long-shot, the editors obviously abandoned it and used it here instead. See more »
[narrating his diary]
The Diary of Jonathan Harker... Third of May, 1885. At last, my long journey is drawing to its close. What the eventual end will be, I cannot foresee. But whatever may happen, I can rest secure that I will have done all in my power to achieve success.
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It's difficult to overestimate the significance of Dracula. Far more so than its predecessor, The Curse of Frankenstein, it set the tone for Hammer's movie output over the next two decades - the two decades (1956-1976) when British films, or at least British horror films, were among the best, most admired and most imitated in the world. A far cry from the terribly English whimsy of the Thirties and Forties, or the provincial, "arty" stuff that's predominated since the end of the Eady levy in the 1980s.
With this movie, Hammer not only created an international star out of Christopher Lee, but a worldwide phenomenon that persists, in series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and films like Sleepy Hollow, to the present day. Taking the Kensington gore quotient of The Curse of Frankenstein, and combining it with an unprecedented dose of eroticised violence, Dracula revolutionised horror, ultimately leading to the breasts and blood exploitation movies of the Seventies, as well as the heavy sexual overtones of films such as Alien and The Company of Wolves.
The movie benefits from two astonishing central performances. Christopher Lee's Dracula is a creation of passionate intensity, to whom Cushing's monomaniacal Van Helsing is the antithesis fire and steel; hot-blooded animal instinct versus cool scientific rationalism. This has led some critics to identify Van Helsing as the real villain of the piece, a brutal fanatic who coldly pounds a stake through the vampirised Lucy. Either way, both actors give supremely effective performances. The final confrontation between the two remains the single most iconic scene in any Hammer film. Hardly surprising, given their on screen charisma, that Lee should reprise his role six times and Cushing four.
The most influential British movie of all time, Dracula's electric mix of sex and death fuelled a global revolution in genre film-making, and presented Hammer with a formula that they would return to again and again over the next two decades.
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