The cape worn by Christopher Lee was discovered in 2007 in a London costume shop during its annual inventory-taking. It had been missing for 30 years, and is believed to be worth around $50,000 (US$). Lee was contacted to verify its authenticity.
In the United States the title was changed to "Horror of Dracula" to avoid confusion with the classic 1931 version (Dracula (1931)). This was a real concern since the Bela Lugosi version was still being booked into theaters (through Realart) until the Shock Theatre package of classic Universal horror films was released to television.
On several occasions, Christopher Lee complained about the contact lenses he had to wear for the shock scenes. Not only were they quite painful, but he could not see a thing. Whilst running towards the vampire woman for instance, he even ran too far past the camera on the first take.
In 2007, the film was selected for preservation by the BFI, but it wasn't until 2011 that an extended print, including a longer version of the disintegration sequence, was discovered at the National Film center in Tokyo.
Dracula was filmed between 11 November 1957 and 3 January 1958. The film premiered at the Warner Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 8 May 1958 and took in $1,682 on its first day. In Britain, the film opened at London's Gaumont Theater 22 May 1958.
The filming of Dracula's destruction included a shot in which Dracula appears to peel away his decaying skin. This was accomplished by putting a layer of red makeup on Christopher Lee's face, and then covering his entire face with a thin coating of mortician's wax, which was then made up to conform to his normal skin tone. When he raked his fingers across the wax, it revealed the "raw" marks underneath. This startling sequence was cut out, but was restored for the 2012 Blu-ray release, using footage from a badly damaged Japanese print.
In Spain there were two re-releases. At first, in 2003 in Barcelona (Cines Verdi's midnight session, for 4 days) and Madrid (2004 - Pequeño Cine Estudio, for 7 days) in subtitled versions. And later, in 2015, also in Barcelona (Phenomena) and Madrid (Artistic Metropol); the film was only projected in subtitled versions and 35 mm. copy (Barcelona).
Christopher Lee's first appearance as Dracula, he would go on to play him, um, well, I lost "count" (sorry about that). Cushing would go on to play van Helsing a few times more as well. Lee and Cushing appeared together about a zillion times, this being one of the earlier ones.
In one scene, Mina Holmwood exits her bedroom after having been seduced and bitten by Dracula, with a very satisfied and seductive smile on her face. Director Terence Fisher, after a few botched takes, reportedly told actress Melissa Stribling: "[...], just imagine you've had the best sex of your life, all night long!" Providing exactly the right motivation, they then proceeded to wrap the scene on the first take.
The film takes numerous liberties with the story of Bram Stoker's novel, including (SPOILERS FOLLOW): In the novel Dracula can transform into a bat, a wolf, a horde of rats, and a mist, whilst in the film he does not have these abilities. * Dracula is an old man at the beginning of the story in the novel and becomes younger as he feeds on blood, whilst in the film he stays the same age throughout. * Dracula has only one bride in the film and is killed by Jonathan Harker, whilst in the novel Dracula has three brides and they are killed by Van Helsing. * In the film Mina is Arthur's wife and Lucy is Arthur's sister and Jonathan's fiancée, whilst in the novel Mina is Jonathan's fiancée and unrelated to Arthur, and Lucy is Arthur's fiancée. * Dr. Seward, a major character in the novel, appears only briefly in the film. * Dracula is killed in the film by Van Helsing, who exposes him to sunlight, whilst in the novel Dracula is killed by Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris (a character not included in the film), who cut his throat and impaled his heart simultaneously with knives. * Sunlight is lethal to vampires in the film, whilst in the novel it merely reduces their supernatural powers. * In the novel Jonathan Harker visits Dracula's castle to sell him real estate, unaware that he is a vampire, whilst in the film he visits Dracula's castle with the knowledge of his vampire nature and the intention to kill him, posing as a librarian. * In the novel Jonathan Harker survives the events of the story, whilst in the film he is turned into a vampire and killed by Van Helsing. * In the novel Dracula's castle is in Transylvania and Jonathan, Mina, Lucy, and Arthur live in England, whilst in the film Dracula's castle is in Klausenburg and only a short distance from the city in which Jonathan, Mina, Lucy, and Arthur live. * In the novel Dracula hides in England in Carfax Abbey, a property he purchased from Jonathan Harker, whilst in the film he hides in the cellar of Arthur's home. In the novel he transports a large number of crates of his native soil to England via ship, and in the film transports only a single coffin filled with his native soil to Arthur's home via carriage.
According to the narration, the action of the film takes place within a two or three week period between May 3 (the opening entry in the Journal of Jonathan Harker), picks up "ten days" after his demise when Van Helsing arrives (sometime after May 15), and concludes in late May or early June 1885 not 1888.
One of the most graphic scenes is when the stake is driven into Lucy's heart and the blood spurts out. American producers did an identical shot in color and spliced it into the black and white prints of "Return of Dracula" (1958). "Return of Dracula" (1958) was in general release in the U.S. before this film, retitled "Horror of Dracula" (1958)