#4 on my top ten Vampire films countdown is another entry from Hammer films - their first foray into vampire territory - HORROR OF DRACULA!
Released in 1958 this one stars Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Michael Gough. It was written by Jimmy Sangster and directed by the great Terrence Fisher. It was originally called simply DRACULA, but renamed Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion. It is based on the Stoker Dracula novel, albeit very loosely. In THIS version Harker comes to castle Dracula to destroy the count (Lee). He fails, and Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) finds the castle empty and Harker lying in a cyypt, no longer a man but now a vampire. He stakes him through the heart and leaves to inform Harker's fiance, Lucy, of thetragic news. But it turns out Lucy has contracted a strange illness... and even stranger marks on her neck...
This film is a joy to watch. Sumptuous colors and crisp direction with the definitive British horror cast of Cushing and Lee - doesn't get much better than that. The two play off one another perfectly, and Cushing in particular is fantastic as Van Helsing. The music score by James Bernard is terrific as well, with that memorable theme that instantly says Hammer Horror.
This is one I revisit regularly, and in fact am overdue to watch again. Definitely one of the best, check out Horror of Dracula, it's a must see for vampire fans.
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