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
Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster admitted in several interviews that the very concise version of the Dracula story in this movie was inspired by budget constraints. This movie only had a budget of around £80,000 but ended up making over $25 million U.S. globally. According to Alfred Edward Daff, who was head of Universal Pictures at the time, this movie had saved the studio from bankruptcy. Some of the notable changes to the novel were: This movie entirely takes place in what appears to be a fictionalized version of Germany in 1885. In the novel, the story unfolds in Transylvania (now Romania), and Britain. There are no elaborate travel scenes in this movie, such as the boat Dracula uses to get to England (called the "Demeter" in the novel), which is shown in most movie adaptations. The only travelling is done by horse coach. A lot of the characters from the novel are given different roles, or have their parts in the story "condensed" into other characters. The only part of the main cast from the novel to be entirely scrapped, however, is Quincey Morris, an American friend of Arthur Holmwood, who also served as a love rival for Lucy. Dracula only has one bride in this movie, rather than the three of the novel. The Count doesn't have the ability to turn into bats, wolves, or swirls of fog in this movie. He would gain some of these abilities in later Hammer movies. Sangster even justifies this change by adding dialogue for Peter Cushing, describing the myth that vampires can take other shapes as being "a common fallacy", rather comparing their supernatural blood lust to "an addiction to drugs". See more »
The position of the bite marks on Jonathan Harker's neck changes considerably from the scene in which he is bitten to the scene in which he inspects them with the mirror. 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 has long been rumored among fans that the Japanese cut of the film contained a number of extended scenes, among them a shot of Dracula tearing his face off during the disintegration climax. Thanks to the efforts of a fan based in Japan, Hammer Films finally acquired the surviving footage from the extended cut in 2011 for inclusion in a forthcoming "definitive" restoration. See more »
Bram Stoker's classic gets a makeover....Hammer style!
Often regarded as the highlight of Hammer horror's oeuvre, The Horror of Dracula stands up today as a fresh and inventive take on what is maybe the best story ever written. Hammer is a studio that has had many a fine hour, and although this is one indeed; I think that there are several other films from their ranks that just top it. Just, being the operative word as this is certainly up there with the best of them. As you might expect, the story follows that of Bram Stoker's original novel; with a young man travelling to Dracula's castle, and not returning. This attracts the attentions of Professor Abraham Van Helsing; an authority in the field of vampirism who then sets out to slay the malevolent fiend that is the source of all the foul play in the movie; Dracula himself.
Although this is based on the classic story, Hammer very much makes it their own. Of course, the campy horror styling that that the studio has become famous for features strongly in the movie and serves in giving it that classic Hammer feel. Furthermore, this movie features both of Hammer's greatest stars; Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Christopher Lee may be no Bela Lugosi, but if there was anyone other than Bela Lugosi that I would want to play Dracula; Christopher Lee is that man. He isn't actually in it that much, but the moments when he is are the best in the movie. He has an incredible amount of screen presence, and all of that is transferred into the character of Dracula. In a similar way, Peter Cushing plays Van Helsing. Like Lee, Cushing has buckets of screen presence, but it's all in a very different style. While Lee is a defined evil, Cushing is more subdued, which allows him to adequately play the hero as well as well as he plays the villain. I've got to be honest, I prefer Cushing in the bad guy role; but he still makes an excellent hero.
Terence Fisher, one of Hammer's premier directors, directs the film and does a great job with it. The atmosphere of the Gothic period setting is spot on, and a constantly foreboding, and intriguing atmosphere is created throughout. The way that the smoke drifts across the graveyard in the movie is among the most atmospheric things Hammer ever shot. Dracula is a great story, and this Hammer yarn more than does it justice.
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