Monday, December 28, 2009

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Many people consider this version of "Dracula" to be the best and frankly, I don't see it.  Don't get me wrong.  It has some really good stuff in it, but compared to other versions of "Dracula", "Horror of Dracula" is not the best.

Christopher Lee is great as Dracula.  Not only is he suave and sophisticated, but he is unbelievably scary.  There are many close ups of Lee with his fangs out and blood running down his chin that were really freaky.  It was very effective.

Peter Cushing was also great as Van Helsing.  He is exactly what Van Helsing should be.  He is an older gentlemen who studies vampires and has the skill to destroy Dracula for good.

So as you can see, the acting was not the problem for me.  My biggest problem were the sets and atmosphere of the picture.  I love Universal's "Dracula" mostly because of the foreboding atmosphere displayed.  This Hammer version looks like a modern day soap opera.  The sets were bare and they looked exactly like what they were; sets.  They did not look lived in and Dracula's castle did not display the look of decay like Universal's did.

My other problem with this version, which is a problem with all Hammer films for me, is its too talky.  Too much talk and not enough action.  Even though Dracula is very scary in the picture, his on screen time is limited.  

"Horror of Dracula" is the first of Hammer's "Dracula" films and is supposedly the best.  It is not a terrible version of the "Dracula" story, but I don't think it is anywhere near as great as Universal's version.

B-  I recommend it.

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