Horror of Dracula (1958) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire's castle under false pretenses.

  • 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.

  • Jonathan Harker takes employment with Count Dracula, ostensibly to catalog his vast library. In fact, he is on a mission to kill the Count, a vampire. Before he can do so however, the Count gains the upper hand and Harker soon finds himself as one of the walking dead. Dracula has taken an interest in Harker's fiancée, Lucy Holmwood and it is left to Harker's colleague, Dr. Van Helsing to protect her. He has difficulty convincing Lucy's brother, Arthur Holmwood, of the dangers or even the existence of vampires. Soon, however, Arthur's wife Mina is targeted by Count Dracula and he and Van Helsing race to find his lair before she is lost to them forever.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • May 3, 1885: Jonathan Harker [John Van Eyssen] goes to Castle Dracula with a job as librarian. Harker writes in his diary that his purpose is to end Dracula's "reign of terror". A woman he meets in castle [Valerie Gaunt] asks him to help her escape, but the woman turns out to be a vampire. She attempts to bite Harker, but Dracula [Christopher Lee] intervenes. The next morning, Harker finds marks on his neck and knows he must act fast. He hides his diary at a crossroads, goes to the crypt, stakes the woman vampire, but Dracula wakes up. Days later Van Helsing [Peter Cushing] arrives at Klausenberg Inn; asking after Harker. The innkeeper's wife Inga [Barbara Archer] gives him Harker's dairy. Van Helsing goes to Dracula's castle where he sees a funeral coach leaving. He finds Harker lying in a coffin and stakes him.

    Weeks later, in Karlstadt, Van Helsing informs Arthur [Michael Gough] and Mina [Melissa Stribbing] Holmwood of Harker's death. Harker's fiancee, Lucy Holmwood [Carol Marsh], is ill and is being treated for anemia by Dr Seward [Charles Lloyd Pack]. When alone, Lucy opens her window and lets in Dracula. Mina seeks advice from Van Helsing who examines Lucy, sees marks on her neck, and instructs Mina not to open windows and to use garlic, but the maid Gerda [Olga Dickie] removes the garlic and opens the windows. The next morning, Lucy is dead. Van Helsing gives Harker's diary to Arthur to read.

    That evening, policemen bring home the maid's child Tania [Janine Faye] who reports seeing Lucy. Later that night, Van Helsing and Arthur go to Lucy's tomb. Van Helsing suggests that this is Dracula's revenge for the woman Harker staked. Van Helsing and Arthur go to the douane at Ingstadt to see where Dracula's coffin was bound (49 Frederichstrasse in Karlstadt). Meanwhile Mina gets a note to meet "Arthur" at 49 Frederichstrasse. Van Helsing and Arthur go to that address (it's a funeral home) and find Dracula's coffin gone. They go home just as Mina arrives from a "morning walk".

    Arthur gives Mina a cross to wear but it burns her hand and they know Dracula has gotten to her. They watch the house all night but Dracula gets in somehow and drinks from Mina. She receives a blood transfusion from Arthur, after which Van Helsing suggests that Arthur have a glass of wine. However, Gerda refuses to go down to wine cellar because Mina has forbidden her to do so. Turns out that Dracula is there. Dracula escapes and takes Mina to his castle. Van Helsing and Arthur follow. Dracula sees dawn approaching and stops from burying Mina. Van Helsing follows him into the castle. Dracula attempts to kill Van Helsing, but Van Helsing leaps onto some curtains, tearing them down and letting in sunlight. Dracula starts to deteriorate. Van Helsing grabs two candlesticks and makes a cross out of them. Dracula turns to dust; Mina is released. [Original synopsis by bj_kuehl]

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