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T500FC, 475th: Horror Of Dracula (Terence Fisher, 1958)

February.28.2011

Dracula or Horror of Dracula is a 1958 feature film by Terence Fisher, who is also a director of various monster films with the likes of The Curse of the Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll. The film was renamed to Horrors of Dracula so that the viewers wouldn’t mix it up with Dracula, version of Bela Lugosi. And despite the five decade difference, Horror of Dracula is a timeless tale of good terror that children of today would still appreciate this haunting film.

It starts off with a man who enters and starts to live in the castle of Dracula. His true intention is exposed when he starts to write in his journal that he plans to kill Dracula. That man was transformed into a vampire and Dr. Van Helsing enters the scene to rid out all the vampires in the area. In a topsy-turvy ride of scenes, Van Helsing ends up looking for Dracula and he tries to kills him, whatever may happen along the way.

This was the time when vampires were considered scary individuals. It is the time where whenever you see the word Dracula in the title, or even if you find out that the theme of the movie are all about vampires, you instantly have that eerie feeling. One thing about the U.S. version of vampires, because the Hong Kong Chinese cinema had that vampire craze too, certain actors were typecast in the role because they are oddly efficient with the character sans the face with the make-up with the matching frightening voice.

There were a lot of Dracula movies that was spawned by Hammer Dracula films; it started off with this film. Even if I was not alive when they were made and shown, I’m sure a lot of vampire enthusiasts were rejoicing with such having nine Dracula films under the Hammer showing a Dracula film almost every two to three years.

I personally, still, loved the classic Dracula touch, that’s why I kind of love this film despite a few quirks on the storyline. It doesn’t matter if the suspense moved on a slo-mo, it has probably something to do with Christopher Lee’s job as the Dracula. One can still feel his leech personality and I know it was quite a feat before to show such touch.

After all these years, it is still worth it to watch a film like this. Classic as it is, it was a breath of fresh air to today’s vampires and I am glad I saw this, no sparkling vampires and no emotional female protagonists on the side.

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