Hammer Chooseday #9:Dracula

Dracula (1958) 5/5

I watched this again recently, on the night that I heard of the death of Christopher Lee, and discovered, through Hammer fan sites, that many others around the world were doing exactly the same. Some with a glass of brandy, toasting the great actor. I did it the English way, with a cup of tea.

The title of the film in America.

The title of the film in America.

This classic film boasts a great cast, though I think that John Van Eyssen is a rather vapid Jonathan Harker, but Lee and Cushing, in the film that established them, carry the movie.

Lugosi was good, but for me Lee is the definitive Dracula, full of imposing, dark menace. Hammer made Dracula into a sinister, sexual predator. With teeth.

The new face of Dracula: Christopher Lee. Suave and debonair, you wouldn't be too put out getting this aristocrat on a blind date, would you?

The new face of Dracula: Christopher Lee. Suave and debonair, you wouldn’t be too put out getting this aristocrat on a blind date, would you?

Erm..on second thoughts, I don't think we have anything in common. Could you call me a taxi, please?

Erm..on second thoughts, I don’t think we have anything in common. Could you call me a taxi, please?

And Cushing, a favourite actor of mine, will forever be Van Helsing.

No matter how old you are, you don't cross Van Helsing. Cross-see what I did there? Oh, you did, and unfollowed me.

No matter how old you are, you don’t cross Van Helsing. Cross-see what I did there? Oh, you did, and unfollowed me.

One day I hope someone will make a film that is faithful to Stoker’s novel, but I do love this adaptation.

Despite my criticism of Van Eyssen as Harker, when Dracula closes the door of the crypt behind him, trapping him in there with the vampire, his terror is palpable.

Another  favourite creepy scene is when the maid’s child is being led through the cemetery by the recently deceased Lucy.

But first, a tea break, before scaring the bejesus out of a child actor.

But first, a tea break, before scaring the bejesus out of a child actor.

The final showdown between these two great actors is great. The Count’s demise is unexpected-caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea, or rather, a cross and a sunbeam, without a single stake in sight.

Should have gone for the Factor 30.

Should have gone for the Factor 30.

This film set the bar for future Dracula movies, not least Hammer movies. In such a defining and iconic role, Sir Christopher, you will not be forgotten. As a fan and a former blood-thirsty kid, I thank you for the sleepless nights.

image

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Hammer Chooseday #9:Dracula

  1. My tribute to Christopher Lee is to re-read Dracula, imagining him in the title role. You know something? Those first few chapters, in which poor Harker is stuck in Castle Dracula, are just about the best horror writing anyone has ever done.

    Like

    • That is a great idea, and I am long overdue re-visiting the book. Maybe wait until my next visit to Whitby. I think people now are a bit blasè about Dracula, everybody knows about him and vampires in general. Just think what it must have been like reading the book though, when it first came out. What a great, dark discovery that must have been.

      Like

      • Whitby? I’m consumed with jealousy! You wouldn’t consider, would you, trading a visit to Whitby for a visit to Perth Amboy, New Jersey?
        On second thought, you’ve never done anything bad to me, so I withdraw the offer.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s