Horror PG Running time: 1:21
IMDB rating: 7.4 Aspect: Wide; Languages: English; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese; Audio: Mono
After Hammer Studios' tremendous success with The Curse of Frankenstein, they struck a deal to adapt Universal's catalog of classics and set their sights first on Dracula. Christopher Lee removes the monstrous makeup from the earlier film and makes his entrance as an elegant, confident, altogether seductive Dracula, a frightening figure of flashing eyes and erotic allure. Peter Cushing, with his hawklike profile and piercing eyes, turns his rationalist intensity to Van Helsing: man of science as crusading vampire hunter. Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster make a few changes to Bram Stoker's tale; gone are Renfield, Transylvania, howling wolves, and transformations into bats. The Count is an old-world aristocrat firmly ensconced in a castle in England and Van Helsing a crusading vampire hunter who plots his demise with an elaborate plan. This is the first film to really mine the erotic appeal of vampires: Dracula seduces Mina and Lucy like a devil tempting good to the dark side through sex--more suggestive than explicit, but daring for 1958. Lee is electric as the ferocious Count, despite his limited screen time, and Cushing turns Van Helsing into a virtual swashbuckler of a hero, leaping and diving through the climax like an aging action hero. Cushing reprises his role in The Brides of Dracula, while Lee absented himself from the series until 1966's Dracula: Prince of Darkness.