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