Horror of Dracula (1958)


Directed by: Terence Fisher

Produced & Written by:
Jimmy Sangster


Peter Cushing .... Doctor Van Helsing
Michael Gough .... Arthur Holmwood
Melissa Stribling .... Mina Holmwood
Christopher Lee .... Count Dracula
Janina Faye .... Tania
Olga Dickie .... Gerda
Carol Marsh .... Lucy Holmwood

Release Dates: Theatrical: May 8, 1958; Cherbourg-Octeville Festival of Irish and British Film: October 16, 1997; Night Visions Film Festival: November 6, 2005 (Finland)







After Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) attacks Dracula (Christopher Lee) at his castle (apparently somewhere in Germany), the vampire travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker's fiancée. The only one who may be able to protect them is Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), Harker's friend and fellow-student of vampires, who is determined to destroy Dracula, whatever the cost.


Different start when we have a fellow named Jonathan entering Dracula's mansion which doesn't look too creepy like you'd think it would be in a vampire type of film as well as a mysterious Vampire Woman talking to h im and acting paranoid as this leaves a nice touch to the story that something terrifying could happen later on.
Nice close up shots on Dracula himself aquainting Jonathan to his mansion but the moments don't look chilling like you'd think as the moments looked too calm and mellow.
Things look a bit better when the Vampire Woman enters again trying to warn him and acting emotional as the scene's were strongly drawn in as well as a nice tight camera shot on her about to bite his neck which looked suspenseful to watch and then the entertainment happens when Dracula struggles against her to prevent Jonathan from being bitten as this also looked quite powerful to watch.
Perfect still moments when Jonathan goes down to the cellar where two coffins are revealed with Dracula and Vampire Woman are sleeping and he gets a stake about to impale it through Vampire Woman's heart as this makes you watch carefully wondering if he will do it or not.
Later on we spot our heroic Doctor Van Helsing entering a local pub as there's displays of garlic hung in the areas as well as him questioning the barteneder about it as well as telling him the situations on what happens there which seemed to look impressive to watch and a nice add into the story.
Impressive moment with Van Helsing going to a residence to help out a sick one whom is Lucy Holmwood as well as him telling her to wear a crucifix necklace a nd her getting uncomfortable as this leaves a clue that she could've been bitten by Dracula along with her later on taking it off and opening her patio doors which leaves a mysterious feel that she's inviting this vampire into her room.
Nice moments written in with Van Helsing telling her family to have garlic and other objects around Lucy's room else she will die if not. This leaves a hint that she could be Dracula's next victim. Plus it's impressive when she gets anxious and convincing the maid Gerda by trying to get rid of the stuff that was placed in her room which looked intense as this for sure leaves an impression big time that she is a vampiress for sure.
Although the story was starting to drag with seeing very little actions on Count Dracula so far there's an attention grabber on a crying little girl Tania when she confesses towards both Arthur and Mina on what she encountered as well as Mina warming up towards her when trying to see on what this was all about which looked calm and brought in quite well.
But then after this moment things get rolling big time when we spot Lucy as now a vampiress tempting little Mina to go for a little walk out in the misty woods as this looked bone chilling wondering what she will do to this innocent child as the settings looked perfectly dark.
Then a great intense moment Van Helsing tries to come to the rescue with a good moment on Lucy being tempting viciously towards him and puts a crucifix towards her forehead and she tries to run and hide inside of her parents' home which looked impressive.
Nice moments when both Van Helsing and Arthur goes to an undertaker on retrieving a coffin and he refuses but offers alot of money as this added in quite nicely to what we will find out later on what happens here.
Perfectly drawn in situation when Mina goes to a cellar and calls out ot her husband with a nice close up shot on Dracula opening his coffin door which during a film in it's time looked quite bone chilling.
Perfectly mhysterious moment when Mina arrives home and has her coat shut not revealing her neck as this gives you the impression while watching this that she's been bitten as well as Arthur trying to convince her to wear a crucifix with her getting the shakes and chills about it and then passing out which looked very well done.
Perfect spooky moments when both Van Helsing and Arthur look around Dracula's home with the forestry area as well as an owl spooking them which at the time was a nice jumping moment. Makes you cringe wondering if Dracula will get them before they do when they try to spy inside the home.
A dry humoress moment when Dracula crashes through a guards gate and he tries to fix it and then both Van Helsing and Arthur breaks through. Made me chuckle a bit.
The intensity gets rolling when there's struggling scene's between Dracula's powerful moments towards Van Helsing with nice camera takes on all of this as well as good moments on Drac himself revealing his fangs. Plus a great moment when he is affected by sunrise shining on him in which the effects looked pretty good of course they look low budget in today's standards but still was well done.
Bottom line is that the film has many slow spots but there's some exciting one's too as I was always fond of Hammer Horror flicks making them a little different than the old fashioned Hollywood types. Plus this flick is in colour as most were B&W during this time period which is even better. It can be enjoyable if you're in the mood for it but if you want an excitable type this one isn't for you.

The acting is very good for a film of it's time in which Peter Cushing (Doctor Van Helsing) shows off a perfectly intelligence in his role as well as believeably fast acting on situations. Was clear with his speaking too in which he seemed to have studied this role incredibly well. Plus does well with his patient attitude along with going at a full thrust into the suspenseful moments like driving a stake through someone's heart and really bringing on the power within all of this. Had the right looks and appeal to this role which was another nice plus to his character.
Michael Gough (Arthur Holmwood) had the perfect appeal as the middle aged ideal husband showing a great mellow and calm type of attitude and really brought out his seriousness greatly by what he was talking about. Plus shows a good and caring attitude as well as trying to plead towards his onscreen wife to wear a crucifix necklace which looked good and dramatic. He brought attention nicely into everything that he did here.
Melissa Stribling (Mina Holmwood) certainly brought on the warm and caring wife. Shows a good understanding when she is talking to someone else as well as trying to solve some issues with an onscreen child really getting into all of it. Quarter way through knew on how to act mysterious or reacting scared of someone. Plus was good at passing out in a certain scene and being natural while behaving like this.
Christopher Lee (Count Dracula) didn't seem to so much have the appeal to look wicked like you'd expect as when he approaches someone doesn't look too intimidating but later on showed a powerful motive when he reveals his fangs and anxious expressions. Also does well with his battling and acting believeably powerful by doing all of this.
Janina Faye (Tania) certainly brought it on as an innocent little girl that you'd want to protect in which she does well with her scared and crying emotions making this look quite convincing within all that she did here. Also does well with her discussions as well as acting believeable when acting cautious in another part of the story. Had the perfect innocent looks too which was a great choice in casting for this part.
Olga Dickie (Gerda) shows off terrific energy as a maid to the family in which she shows a good attitude to whom she was talking to as well as showing a crying and scared emotions when the suspense happens to her as this shines off greatly into her characteristics. She for sure had an effective supporting role into what she did here.
Carol Marsh (Lucy Holmwood) didn't have a huge part but had the most effective supporting role as someone whom is sick and feeling weak which shows off nicely. Also does well acting manipulative and anxious in another spot without overdoing it. Plus does a great job with her vicious cold speaking or reacting painfully with her screaming after a crucifix is pressed on her forehead. She was certainly a great horror character. Two thumbs up.

A stake is bloodily impaled in many victims chests
Mild bloody neck bites

Nice strong orchestral playing done by James Bernard in which he really delivers an opening for it with the trombones and such. Plus in the story there's more of it as well as deep drum rollings for the terrors. Plus spooky quiverring violin and chiming type of sounds. Alot more old fashioned composing as it's too bad some of this doesn't fit the scores to todays horror flicks since this is where it stands out greatly by hearing it in this one.