Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses, forcing his colleague Dr. Van Helsing to destroy the predatory villain when he targets Harker's loved ones.
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
This was such a huge hit internationally that the following year, Christopher Lee was hired to go to Italy and essentially recreate his Dracula character for the Italian comedy "Uncle was a Vampire" (1959). See more »
The coffin Dracula uses in the undertaker's cellar has a large cross on the lid. Dracula could not touch that lid to get into the coffin. 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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The film was cut for its original cinema release by the BBFC in 1958 to remove shots of blood during Lucy's staking and to reduce the final disintegration of Dracula. For later UK video and DVD releases the U.S print (titled "Horror Of Dracula") was used as this restored the staking scene in full, although the climactic disintegration remained edited (and may no longer survive). In May 2007 a new BFI 'restored' print was premiered in Cannes which includes the staking and restores the original title of "Dracula" to the opening titles. See more »
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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