60s Horror – Horror of Dracula

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Directed by: Terence Fisher
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing
IMDB | Hammer Films

Britain’s Hammer Films is a legendary producer of horror films starring classic horror actors such as Christopher Lee.

To the best of my recollection, Horror of Dracula is the first Hammer Film I’ve seen (with the possible exception of some edited, Saturday-afternoon TV broadcast of other Hammer movies. I don’t remember what those movies would have been, but I remember that the color palette used in Horror of Dracula was also used in those movies). Many of Hammer’s films are, I’m sure, better than Horror of Dracula, which is slow, limp, and lifeless.

The problem with the movie is, probably, the story. The film is essentially a retelling of the novel Dracula, by Bram Stoker. The story clings closely, though not too closely, to the novel. As a result, anyone who knows the story will see the movie’s whole plot laid out pretty quickly. And since the film really adds nothing of note to the book, those who are familiar with the book don’t really need to watch the movie.

Making matters worse, watching this movie in 2004 finds the character of Dracula woefully overexposed.

The film may have seemed fresh at its release in 1968 (though if I understand things correctly, there had already been a number of Hammer Dracula films), but the proliferation of Dracula movies in the intervening years has made this version all too slow and pointless.

Christopher Lee is stylish and strong in the film’s title role, but otherwise the acting is stiff (or is that English?), the pacing slow, and the drama nil.

Maybe it was good in its time, but now The Horror of Dracula lacks, sorry to say it, all bite.

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