In memory of film legend Sir Christopher Lee, comes the film and role that brought him to iconic status. That film is the 1958 British horror film "Dracula" where he took the role of Count Dracula. The film is directed by Terence Fisher, who has worked with Hammer Horror on numerous projects. It stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, and Carol Marsh.
Some people may know this film as "Horror of Dracula" in the United States. The reason for the title change was to avoid any confusion with the original "Dracula" (1931) starring Bela Lugosi. This installment is the first of the series of Hammer Horror films. All installments were inspired by the Bram Stoker novel "Dracula." Christopher Lee would end up reprising the role of Count Dracula nine more times. Only five of those nine films were done as Hammer films.
After the death of his friend, Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) goes on a mission to kill Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) so he can put an end to the legend, no matter the circumstances. The plot is simple and easy to follow.
Van Helsing is the main protagonist and a very dedicated man in doing what he believes is the right thing. He is relentless and very brave to take on this powerful monster. Count Dracula is the main antagonist and murders people for his own pleasure. This Dracula is different from others because he acts like a businessman. He's not as sexy in looks but his vocabulary and mannerisms make up for his seductive side. It was a nice change of pace from other incarnations. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were really close and considered to be great friends. Having them on opposite sides makes the film better and the climax that much more exciting.
The supporting cast does a good job. There aren't a lot of standout characters to draw from except one. That character is Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough). He and Helsing have a shaky start at first because of Holmwood's stubbornness to listen to Helsing. After a couple more mysterious incidents, the two eventually team up to end Dracula's reign before anyone else gets hurt.
The running time is 82 minutes and is paced very well by Terence Fisher. The film flies by and feels like it doesn't take up much of your time at all. The makeup of the decaying skin that was done very well. For an older film, it didn't come off as cheesy or ridiculous as one would think. James Bernard did the score and it's what you would expect from a older horror film. The music is really loud and very fast paced.
There was a few sprinkles of humor added every now and then which was a relief and genuinely made me laugh. Comedy helps the tone of the film and adds realism. It helps to illustrate that life isn't always so dark and grim. The humor was mixed well and didn't take anything away from the main plot or seriousness of the overall film.
"Dracula" (1958) is a good entertaining horror film. If you're a classic film buff or enjoy watching older horror films then this film is worth a watch. Terence Fisher crafted a simple story with strong leads that created the legend known as Sir Christopher Lee.
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