Dir. Terence Fisher
UK 1958 | Colour | 82 mins | Cert 12A
Cast: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh
Dracula is Hammer’s most celebrated film, starring Christopher Lee in his first ever outing as the vampire Count. The film’s international success established Lee as the new superstar of British horror, and Hammer as the horror studio par excellence. This was the first version of Bram Stoker’s novel to be filmed in colour, lending greater emphasis than ever before to the physical aspects of horror. Jack Asher’s lush cinematography makes the most of Dracula’s bloodshot eyes and fangs dripping with blood. Yet Lee’s Dracula, though horrifying, is less of a stylised monster than in previous portrayals. Suave, debonair and an accomplished seducer, he is effectively a nineteenth-century James Bond — with an even deadlier touch. Indeed, sex was a major selling point for Hammer which strongly stressed the eroticism of the vampire-victim relationship. Newly restored by the BFI National Archive, Terence Fisher’s horror classic offers a richly satisfying big screen experience — from the first appearance of the black-cloaked Count at the top of a flight of stairs, to the film’s breathtakingly choreographed finale.
Available on: DCP, 35mm
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