Horror of Dracula (1958)

Behold, as Dracula returns in the Horror of Dracula (1958) - one of several films to be based on the novel of Dracula, with this being the first to be shot in colour.

Following his partner's death who fell victim to Dracula himself, the plot follows Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing in his bid to end the terror of Dracula once and for all. However, the bewitching powers of Dracula have already taken several women, who become helpless to resist Dracula eventually becoming the undead creatures of vampires themselves.

It was great to see the classic vampire back in action when compared to the rather saturated 'Twilight' genre of vampires about, from the iconic sleeping tomb of coffins to the unforgettable weapons of a wooden stake and crucifix. Young Christopher Lee does an exceptional performance in capturing the ominous and terrifying presence of Count Dracula, never letting his fangs and cape dominate his performance [1].

From the dark looming shadows of a cemetery and castle, to the colourful sets of the noble classes interiors, the contrast of gothic horror and aristocratic nobility provides an iconic and captivating feel to the environments that are brimming with atmosphere.

Intriguingly, the original films release prompted an Adult-X rating with the seductive biting of vulnerable women, to reactions describing the film as 'one of the most revolting horror films I have seen in years' according to a Daily Express reviewer. Whereas in today's film standards, the film has been given a 12A containing 'mild bloody horror', so it is rather interesting to note how audiences' reception to films have changed over time.

Overall, while the pacing may be a little long witted for modern audiences, the Horror of Dracula deserves recognition as one of finest horror movies of British cinema with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing's standout performances.


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