Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

I had the extreme fortune of seeing FRIGHT NIGHT last night in the theater with director/writer Tom Holland in attendance. He even answering some questions afterward. When he spoke about the inspiration for FRIGHT NIGHT he said that he had grown up on the Hammer Horror films about Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy. But then during the 1980's vampires had become a joke (ONCE BITTEN was mentioned here) and he wanted to create a love story to the older monster movies that he grew up watching. The result was FRIGHT NIGHT. Anyway, I'm saying all this because I've never seen any of the Hammer Horror films so I decided to start with their first vampire film, THE HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) and you know what? It was pretty entertaining!

I can't believe this film was made in 1958. It still looks really good and the performances were quite serious. The film opens with Dracula winning a break dancing contest at a nudist colony...what?! Oh, sorry wrong film. A guy, posing as a librarian, comes to work for Dracula cataloging his books, but in reality the dude wants to kill Dracula. He fails completely and by the time Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) shows up Dracula is long gone and actually off stalking the fake librarian's beautiful fiancee. Van Helsing begins looking for clues that will lead him to Dracula.

Some modern audiences with short attention spans might find the story slow, but I was entertained throughout and found Christopher Lee to be probably the most awesome vampire I've ever seen...besides Angel and Edward of course. Overall, it was a solid vampire film and I can definitely see why Tom Holland is such a fan of it...even though I think FRIGHT NIGHT is a million times better.

Now I'm excited to see the next one!