“I am Dracula and I welcome you to my house.” Are you falling for that old trick? Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Whitney Collazo, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, and Jeff Mohr along with special guest Dick Klemensen (since 1972, the editor and publisher of Little Shoppe of Horrors Magazine – The Journal of Classic British Horror Films) – as they enter the House of Hammer once again with one of the company’s best, (Horror of) Dracula (1958).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 109 – (Horror of) Dracula (1958)
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Jonathan Harker begets the ire of Count Dracula after he accepts a job at the vampire’s castle under false pretenses, forcing his colleague Dr. Van Helsing to hunt the predatory villain when he targets Harker’s loved ones.IMDb
- Director: Terence Fisher
- Writers: Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Bram Stoker (novel)
- Music by: James Bernard
- Cinematographer: Jack Asher (director of photography)
- Production Design: Bernard Robinson
- Makeup Department:
- Philip Leakey (makeup artist) (as Phil Leaky)
- Roy Ashton (assistant makeup artist) (uncredited)
- Special Effects: Sydney Pearson
- Selected Cast
- Peter Cushing as Doctor Van Helsing
- Christopher Lee as Count Dracula
- Michael Gough as Arthur Holmwood
- Melissa Stribling as Mina Holmwood
- Carol Marsh as Lucy Holmwood
- John Van Eyssen as Jonathan Harker
- Valerie Gaunt as Vampire Woman
- Olga Dickie as Gerda
- Janina Faye as Tania
- Charles Lloyd-Pack as Doctor Seward
- George Merritt as Policeman
- George Woodbridge as Landlord
- George Benson as Frontier Official
- Miles Malleson as Undertaker
- Geoffrey Bayldon as Porter
- Barbara Archer as Inga
- Paul Cole as Lad
Whitney had a “reel” treat when she first saw (Horror of) Dracula at Geoffrey Rayles’s Rayle Archives in Lenoir, NC where she was able to view the 1958, 35mm, Technicolor print along with a couple reels of the early 1960s re-release. Of course, she loved the movie. What’s not to like with Cushing, Lee, and Gough? For Chad, (Horror of) Dracula changed the way he looked at the Count and, along with The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), this one is his favorite Hammer film. Chad also has a heck of a story about the first time he saw the film at his grandparent’s house. Daphne had great fun watching Cushing and Lee, especially in the few scenes they had together in (Horror of) Dracula. Jeff is a big fan of Dracula (1931) but also loves Lee’s more feral, animalistic interpretation in (Horror of) Dracula.
You might say Dick Klemensen gives truth to the statement, “If you show it, he will come,” when he drove over two hours across the state to catch a showing of (Horror of) Dracula at a drive-in theater in Des Moines. According to Dick, if you want to show someone a Hammer film who has never seen one, this is it. The film has everything: action, blood, fights, and pacing.
Incidentally, if you haven’t read an issue of The Little Shoppe of Horrors Magazine, edited and published by Dick Klemensen since 1972, head on over to their website and order yourself an issue (or two or three). They’re stock full (at about 100 pages of 8-point font) of interesting articles and art about classic British horror films.
Also be sure to check out The Men Who Made Hammer shorts (running between 15 and 60 minutes each) featuring Dick and produced by Constantine Nasr on the Scream Factory Blu-ray releases of the following Hammer films: X the Unkown (1956, Jimmy Sangster), The Brides of Dracula (1960, Jack Asher and Terence Fisher), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961, Roy Ashton), The Phantom of the Opera (1962, Anthony Hinds), The Kiss of the Vampire (1963, James Bernard and Bernard Robinson), The Lost Continent (1968, Michael Carreras & film commentary), and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974, Roy Skeggs). The other entry in The Men Who Made Hammer series features Tony Dalton (author of Terence Fisher: Master of Gothic Cinema, 2021) discussing Freddie Francis on The Evil of Frankenstein (1964).
October is a great month to revisit this Hammer gem! As of this writing, (Horror of) Dracula is available for streaming on HBOmax.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next on their very flexible schedule is one chosen by Daphne, Antonio Margheriti’s The Long Hair of Death (1964) starring Barbara Steele!
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