Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, Olga Dickie, John Van Eyssen, Valerie Gaunt, Janina Faye, Barbara Archer, Charles Lloyd Pack, George Merritt, George Woodbridge, George Benson, Miles Malleson
Written by: Jimmy Sangster, based on a novel by Bram Stoker
Directed by: Terence Fisher
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 82
Date: 05/08/1958
IMDB

Horror of Dracula (1958)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Sleep Well

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hammer Studios followed up their hit The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) with this equally impressive and popular film. (They had won a lawsuit that said they could make any monster movie they wanted, so long as nothing resembled the films made by Universal in the 1930s and 1940s.) The new film follows the Bram Stoker novel as loosely as any other adaptation up to that time, though this one is much leaner and meaner. This time, Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) is not a naïve real estate man; he's an undercover vampire hunter. When he fails to return from his mission to destroy Count Dracula (Christopher Lee), Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) must come in to finish the job. Dracula's motivation here is now revenge, rather than mere bloodlust. Director Terence Fisher, who is roundly considered the best of Hammer's staff, gives the film a tight pace and bold colors, highlighting blood red and -- where he can -- the actress' cleavage. Things grew more lurid later on, in many sequels. Lee and Cushing played these roles many times more, and Fisher often continued to work with them.

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