When a ship is wrecked off Whitby, the only survivor, Count Dracula, is discovered lying on the beach by the sickly young Mina Van Helsing, who is visiting her dear friend Lucy Seward. Lucy, her fiancé Jonathan Harker (a solicitor), and her father Dr. Jack Seward (who runs the local asylum) try to make the Count feel welcome to England. The Count quickly takes the life of Mina, and proceeds to romance Lucy, with the intention of making her his greatest bride. Soon after the death of Mina, the Sewards call her father Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to come to their home. As Lucy falls deeper under the spell of the Count, Dr. Van Helsing almost immediately comes to understand that his daughter fell prey to a vampire and discovers the culprit to be none other than the Count himself. Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Harker work together to foil the Count's plans to take Lucy away to his native Transylvania.
In Whitby, England, the sickly Mina Van Helsing is spending some days with her friend Lucy Seward and her father Dr. Jack Seward in their house that is also an asylum at the seaside. When a ship wrecks on the coast, all the crew is dead and Mina helps the only survivor Count Dracula, who has just bought the Fairfax Abbey through Lucy's fiancé Jonathan Harker. Soon Dracula drinks Mina's blood taking her life. Dr. Seward summons Mina's father Professor Abraham Van Helsing for the funeral but he arrives late. On the next night, the son of a mental patient is attacked by Mina. Professor Van Helsing discovers that his daughter is undead and the Count Dracula is a vampire. Now Van Helsing, Dr. Seward and Jonathan have to protect Lucy from the vampire.
In 1913, the charming, seductive and sinister vampire Count Dracula travels to England in search of an immortal bride.
- A great storm rages, and the lunatics at Seward Sanitarium in Whitby are restless. Lucy Seward [Kate Nelligan] goes to help her father Jack [Donald Pleasance] while the sickly Mina Van Helsing [Jan Francis], who is staying with the Sewards, remains in bed. Mina is awakened by the storm and sees a runaway ship. She races down to the beach and comes upon an injured man (Dracula, of course). The next day, Jonathan Harker [Trevor Eve] salvages Dracula's cargo and has Milo Renfield [Tony Haygarth] deliver it to Carfax Abbey where Dracula is staying.
Some nights later, the Sewards hold a dinner party and invite Count Dracula [Frank Langella]. Mina is not feeling well, but Lucy and the Count hit it off. Later that night, Dracula comes to Mina's bedroom. The next morning, Mina dies. Seward sends for her father, Doctor Abraham Van Helsing [Laurence Olivier]. Van Helsing arrives just after Mina's burial and, because Seward must pick Van Helsing up at the station, Lucy alone accepts an invitation to dine with Dracula.That night, Mina kills a baby.
The next evening, Dracula pays his respects to Mina's grave and meets Van Helsing. Dracula comes to Lucy that night and 'mates' with her. Knowing that Mina is vampire, Van Helsing and Seward track her down and destroy her. Dracula confronts Van Helsing who determines that Dracula casts no reflection in a mirror and thus is the vampire. The next day, while Lucy is held in a sanitarium cell for her own protection, Harker and Van Helsing search out Dracula's coffin at Carfax. But it is empty! During daylight hours? "After my rest, my need is only to stay in darkness," Dracula admits. Harker visits Lucy in her cell only to discover that she is turning vampire. Dracula enters the sanitarium, kills Renfield, and escapes with Lucy.
Dracula and Lucy, pursued by Harker, Seward and Van Helsing, begin a wild dash for the shipyard. Although Harker's car suffers axle damage and they must walk, they arrive at the dock just as Dracula's ship clears the harbor. Harker and Van Helsing snatch a boat and catch up with the vessel. They find Lucy and Dracula asleep in their coffin. Van Helsing attempts to stake Dracula, but Dracula awakens in time to stake Van Helsing instead. Just before he dies, Van Helsing hooks a cargo winch in Dracula's back and hoists him up out of the hold into the sun. Dracula is destroyed by the light, and Lucy is released. But Dracula's cape suddenly takes flight, and Lucy smiles. [Original synopsis by bj_kuehl.]