Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Tonight's HORROR OF DRACULA--Wow!


princessananka
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

Rare is it, indeed, when the remake of a legendary classic can equal its power on its own level.

 

 

Such a rarity is TCM's telecasting tonight of Hammer Studio's lusty, bloody, gorgeous, haunting HORROR OF DRACULA from l958.

 

 

We're given stunning Technicolor, set designs, costumes, production values, story, a great musical score by James Bernard and best of all, a game cast that gives their all to this interpretation of Bram Stoker's horror classic.

 

 

The l931 movie gave us Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula-a sinister, gloating gentleman vampire who used his voice and dignified body to convey the fact that he never drank wine, but did enjoy supping on blood.

 

 

Christopher Lee's master of the undead is tall, vigorous, turning into a red-eyed monster who became an animal when he wanted his supping of a woman's life force.

 

 

Among the game cast are some real standouts:

 

 

Carol Marsh as the doomed Lucy is quiet but sly as we see her in her bedroom, preparing to meet her deadly lover. As the music swells, we see the balcony, dead leaves scuttling in the wind, and then suddenly (after a really jarring cut to Peter Cushing dictating into his dictaphone) Dracula. He stands in darkness, backlit beautifully by a greenish, reddish light and then he swiftly glides over to suckle her blood.

 

 

Another great scene involves Jonathan Harker, portrayed memorably by tall, elegant John Van Eyssen. In the basement of Castle Dracula, he has driven a stake into the heart of the vampire girl when he looks up in horror and see his undead host appearing at the top of the stairs. That expression of shock is fantastic.

 

 

Praise isn't enough for the fabulous musical scoring by James Bernard. It sends chills up your spine and can easily hold its own with Bernard Hermann's PSYCHO score.

 

 

Although Hammer Studios had been around since l935, it hit the jackpot with its l957 CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and followed it up with its own take on classic monsters.

 

 

Hammer's fantastic BRIDES OF DRACULA from l960 is another absolute must for any fan of horror. Its sumptuous sets, stunning lighting design, costumes, performances have rarely been equalled.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horror of Dracula s'allright. There's some things I'd change about it...But s'allright.

 

The really inn-teresting, albeit flawed, Hammer Dracula pic is Scars of Dracula. I've brought it up many times in other threads, but it's my favorite- standing out nicely from the others in its diversion from the standard plot formula and actually utilizing (the slightly too old) Lee in the role properly. Roy Ward Baker did it. He also did A Night to Remember, Don't Bother to Knock, The Monster Club (very cool movie), and some other offbeat stuff.

 

The second most inn-teresting to me is the oft-derided Satanic Rites of Dracula/ Rites of Dracula/ Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride(s) it's novel, at least and funny- both intentionally and un. Patsy is in it. She's fabulous.

Dracula AD 1972 is some low budget s***.

Prince of...Taste the Blood of...Has Risen from the Grave are all kind of sort of really the same film, and that film is inn-teresting and atmospheric, but ultimately unsatisfying.

 

 

Brides of Dracula is cool, but it should've been called something other than Brides of Dracula. There is no Dracula, there really is no one in it I'd classify as a Bride either. Of course, the same is true for the later alternately titled Count Dracula and his Vampire Bride, because there is someone you could call a bride in that one, but not a vampire.

 

 

But still, you have to love this:

 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ7qoLpo6OpCm6haLNo6Sl

 

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 17, 2012 4:22 PM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 17, 2012 4:23 PM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 17, 2012 4:25 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Problem with HORROR OF DRACULA is that it is overrated. The film is an entirely different DRACULA story that is even less based on the STOKER novel then the 1931 film. What happened to England, Renfield, etc. Characters are all mixed up. The DRACULA character,as played by Lee, is too British, at first aloof and almost blahzay about the whole business and then becomes overanimated not long into the flick when his bride(?) decides to snack on Harker, there goes the charade. Van Helsing, Cushing, makes for a very effective VAMPIRE HUNTER, except that is not who or what Van Helsing is supposed to be. And he appears to be in competition with LEE as to who is the more overanimated. All in all a hodge podge of the story. Purely HAMMER'S own take on DRACULA, not an adaptation of the novel, not even a veiled attempt at an adaptation of the novel. Why we needed another repeat Holloween of Hammer's garbage is beyond me. Give me LUGOSI's 1931 DRACULA any day. Wonder why it was held back???? No one else is showing it. Thought it might have something to do with the new BLU, but they're showing KARLOFF's FRANKENSTEIN and that got the BLU treatment to. I guess the LUGOSI bias now extends to TCM as well. Don't tell me about BLACK CAT, SOF, and MURDER IN THE RUE MORGUE. DRACULA is LUGOSI'S signature film role and that film, more then any other, deserves it's place on TCM'S HOLLOWEEN film roster, or any other time of the year, especially VALENTINE'S DAY. It was after all billed as the "world's strangest love story".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee in this movie is still the cinema's most terrifying, sexual Dracula. Lugosi was more mysterious and romantic but Lee's vampire is a powerful force of demonic evil. The film might be a very loose adapation of the novel but the script and direction are first rate. This classic has aged very well and nothing tops that exciting ending.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Infinite, always enjoy your take on these boards--and you certainly know your oinions.

 

 

But--do you really think a modern viewer of a movie like HORROR OF DRACULA is going to judge it on its faithfulness to its literary source? All they--and I--care about is how effective it is as a MOVIE!

 

 

I can't think of any movie, based on a novel, that follows it literally. Books are to be read--movies are purely visual.

 

 

HORROR OF DRACULA gives us a rousing new take on the Dracula story.

 

 

And--as someone's mentioned--Francis Ford Coppola's fabulous BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA--is a cinematic joy that I wish TCM would show--but it's probably too risque for some viewers.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there no love here for Hammer's *The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires* (1974)? It has Peter Cushing as Professor Laurence Van Helsing and John Forbes-Robertson as Count Dracula. It is set in a remote village in China. It can be seen at:

http://youtu.be/UXZ-lUVC-Rs

 

Bela Lugosi plays The Vampire in: *Old Mother Riley Meets the Vampire* (1952). It can be seen at:

http://youtu.be/lvuqK-rGFaQ

 

Fans of pepla may like Gordon Scott in: *Goliath and the Vampires* (1961). It may be seen at:

http://youtu.be/c8ZQdmd5_pw

 

My favorite modern movie of Dracula is: *Love at First Bite* (1979) with George Hamilton as Count Dracula and Arte Johnson as Renfield. A clip of it may be seen at:

 

"I bit her once in Warsaw ..."

 

They are fun movies even although they have nearly no relationship to the novel. I believe it would be inane to have many movies with scripts virtually identical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must confess that Brides of Dracula is a personal favorite if mine. Peter Cushing is so Peter Cushing, He does the Van Helsing bit so well. But Horror of Dracula stinks. I'm afraid I'm not a fan of British actors. They're so goddam stuffy. One wonders if these people ever went to the bathroom with a half smile on their face, or relief.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I scoped out several of the Hammer horrors last night...well, the first 3 anyway! They were takes on the Universal classics "Dracula", "Frankenstein", and "The Mummy". I thought their take was interesting. It didn't grip me every second the way the earlier 30's Universal flix always do, but they definitely had their moments. I can see how these films are a nice bridge between the more traditionally classic flix of the Universal heyday and the more modern horror film.

 

One constant of the Hammer flix is the bosomy low cut cleavage, though, wow! Yowza!

 

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing just really have a powerful screen presence, so that helps with the enjoyment of these flix as well!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Horror of Dracula" has aged the best- it remains an exciting, bloody, sexy take on the classic tale.

"Curse of Frankenstein" seems a bit hokey- it does have one good shock moment when the creature first appears. " The Mummy" is a very handsome production- they obviously had a bigger budget- but I do wish Hammer had re-made the Karloff original not one of it's sequels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horror of Dracula comes up a lot on the boards. I've brought these up numerous times, but what's one more?

 

*My Suggestions for improving The Horror of Dracula*

 

 

1. This one is just a sogetto but, isn't Dracula's castle awfully clean? One thing the 1931 version nails is Stoker's vision of the castle as decrepit and utterly falling to pieces which, really, it should be. I mean, was this Clove's week off? Does Dracula have a woman come up from the village? Does the Vampire Nymph chick just throw on a diaphonous apron and sweep up the place, what?

 

 

2. Nice spin on making Harker a vampire hunter, but does he have to be the *WORST* vampire hunter *EVER?* I mean, he makes the guys in Fearless Vampire Killers look like a couple of aces. Abbott and Costello would've been more effective than this guy. Geeze.

 

 

3. Vampire Bride, fine. Lucy fine- but Mina- *no.* Actress Mellissa Stribling was a *man, man baby.* She is *all wrong* for the part. All wrong. Too modern, too manly. No, no. No.

 

 

4. *Who the hell is Gerta* and why does she live with the Holmewoods even though she apparently is no one's child and they don't seem to really want her there?

 

 

5. Clever 3rd act reveal about Dracula hiding out in the basement of Arthur and Mina's home, but the scene where this occurs to Van Helsing *could be so much better!!!!! why, oh why do they have him throw the lid off the coffin and it's empty* and then Dracula just casually strolls into the basement through the door, like's he's just nipped out for a second to fetch a pack of Altman's and he's all, "oh, you." *****?* Have Dracula in the coffin, leap out at Van Helsing and then he can take Mina (although why he wants to is beyond me) and run off to the castle. That makes no sense as it is, and it could be *a genuine scare.* see last act of "Dracula, Prince of Darkness."

 

 

6.Michael Gough is such a sack of wet mice.

 

 

7. In the final confrontation scene, there are little things that need to be different. Namely, when running across the table, Van Helsing knocks over a stack of books and when they fall, it is clearly a one-piece prop. That's bad. Someone should've noticed. Then, I feel like Dracula is too slow on the draw a few times. I don't buy he gets psyched out when Van Helsing's fakes out being strangled to death and is then all "fooled you, suckah!" and he is too slow when Van Helsing runs to take the drapes down. He doesn't react well, just needs a minor re-do with a little more perception on the part of Lee.

 

 

but it's still a good ending, and the score is *TREMENDOUS* and the sets are good and Lee is great and so is Cushing and the staking of Lucy scene is great and there are some clever cuts and I can totally see how this freaked the people in Eisenhower's America the f*** out.

 

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 18, 2012 9:45 AM

 

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 18, 2012 9:46 AM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 18, 2012 9:48 AM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 18, 2012 9:49 AM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Joe, you're so right about HORROR OF DRACULA.

 

 

It still looks great--and as I've written here before, the performances were all outstanding, down to the bit (pun intended) parts.

 

 

I should have pointed out Valerie Gaunt as the "Vampire Woman." She seems to have been a veteran of Hammer Studios since she also appeared as the amorous maid in CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. This latter one now appears very slow moving and lethargic and you think they'll NEVER show the monster.

 

 

I've also noticed that although Hammer Studios delighted in showing us great gouts of strawberry colored blood, you never saw any gore. There were no ripping bodies asunder with entrails and everything shoved into your face. In HORROR< it was interesting the way the scenes always stopped before the violence occurred--especially in the basement scene where Jonathan Harker recoils in horror when he sees his host standing at the top of the stairs and slowly descends with an expression of evil on his gaunt face.

 

 

Hammer never had that much money to spend on special effects that could have transformed several of their more interesting projects into solid gold. With the exception of PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, i'm thinking of the dissapointing creature in THE REPTILE and THE GORGON. Yet, the studio's brilliant usage of color made even their worst films memorable.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=AddisonDeWitless wrote:}{quote}whoops. i meant the little child whose name eludes me...

> {quote:title=AddisonDeWitless wrote:}{quote}

> 4. *Who the hell is Gerta* and why does she live with the Holmewoods even though she apparently is no one's child and they don't seem to really want her there?

I think the name is Gerda...and the little girl, Tania, is Gerda's daughter. There's even that scene where Tania is in the drawing room talking to Mina, and Gerda comes in and says "I'm sorry she was bothering you, Mrs. Holmwood (sp)...come away, Tania!", and leads her daughter away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and yet she calls Holmwood's sister "Aunt Lucy" and I don't think Gerta ever says outight it's her daughter. And she never calls Gerta "mother" She really is kind of like seventh season sitcom kid, just showing up even though no one really seems to want her there.

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 18, 2012 3:58 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=AddisonDeWitless wrote:}{quote}...and yet she calls Holmwood's sister "Aunt Lucy" and I don't think Gerta ever says outight it's her daughter. And she never calls Gerta "mother"

Doesn't matter, and calling her "Aunt Lucy" is nothing new. That's a common courtesy in many cultures, and there were people my parents knew when we were kids whom we weren't related to but called them Aunt and Uncle.

 

Big deal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

It was fun to once again thrill to HORROR OF DRACULA and so stayed up to catch CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, a movie I haven't seen in years.

 

 

No wonder. It has to be one of Hammer Studio's worst efforts.

 

 

Yes, its technically good looking--great sets, performers, wardrobe, music.

 

 

But that script meanders all over the place, even involving Dr. Frankensteini in some stupid romance with the maid. We're shown so little of the creature that it doesn't have much impact. We're treated to endless squabbles and battles with Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant.

 

 

What made the l931 version so great, is that the story concentrates on the mad scientist and his creation and a very few people. We see the monster early on from differenrt angles.

 

 

I think the reason CURSE was such a hit for Hammer in l957 is that American audiences had never seen anything like it. Horror movies were reduced to the trashbin of Hollywood. Universal had shut down its spook B unit in l947. So we were forced to consider watching Roger Corman's bottom-of-the-barrel garbage dumps of movies that had no budgets, no real actors, no make-up, hair, production dsigns. All were filmed for nothing and it showed.

 

 

Corman enjoys bragging how at one time, he made his monster in l0 minutes by sticking plastic drinking straws into a kitchen sponge and the movie made about $50,000 profit.

 

 

I think that except for HORROR OF DRACULA and THE BRIDES OF DRACULA, the rest of Hammer's output never lived up to these two masterpieces. The make-up in CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF was outstanding--but the story and production were third rate.

 

 

Anybody else want to chim in on this?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree, the maid suplot is ridiculous and unnecessary. All of the Hammer films have such a rich, vibrant look to them but sadly many of them are subpar although for me very watchable. Oddly enough one of my favorite Dracula sequels is one that is not very highly regarded, "Taste the Blood of Dracula". I don't know why I enjoy this film so much. Dracula is hardly in it, some of the acting is very over the top ( yes, Ralph Bates you are guilty as charged ) and the lead girl, Linda Hayden, is a bit bland. Despite this I find it very enjoyable and watch it whenever it is on. I became a longtime fan of Anthony Higgins (aka Anthony Corlan ) after seeing him in the Michael York, Angela Lansbury film, "Something for Everyone" and was pleased to find him in "Taste the Blood of Dracula". He is also very good in another Hammer film, "Vampire Circus" from 1972; definitely a creepy little film .

 

As a side note, the lead girl in "Taste the Blood Dracula" , Linda Hayden, is much more effective and evil in "The Blood on Satans Claw" from 1971 ( which I believe has aired on TCM ).

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Countess, dear friend, I do love all of your always trenchant and original takes on movies.

 

 

The movies you've cited here are ones I've copied down to either rent from Netflix or find on my own. I'm sure I've seen these gems in the past but I always enjoy getting ideas from from such TCM veterans as yourself.

 

 

I totally hate the way horror movies have devolved over the years.

 

 

All we have now are these wretched "found footage" disasters, like the current one that opened this weekend, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY IV. Or, the movie is about a "demon child" or "haunted house".

 

 

I must confess, I've been glued to my tube while watching AMC's Fearfest which has a neverending treasure load of shockers, both A listings (Alien) to the truly wretched FRIDAY THE 13TH marathon.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=CountessDracula wrote:}{quote}I totally agree, the maid suplot is ridiculous and unnecessary.

I disagree. The whole point of the Baron dallying with Justine is to show what an unfaithful piece of scum he really is. He should be faithful to his fiancee, Elizabeth, and he isn't. What Hammer did throughout the entire Frankenstein series...except, perhaps for *Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell* ...is to make Baron Frankenstein more evil and unscrupulous than any of his creations who, in almost every instance, are sympathetic characters. That was a refreshing change, especially since Cushing's Van Helsing in their *Dracula* films is a really nice guy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=CountessDracula wrote:}{quote} *All of the Hammer films have such a rich, vibrant look to them but sadly many of them are subpar although for me very watchable*. Oddly enough one of my favorite Dracula sequels is one that is not very highly regarded, "Taste the Blood of Dracula". I don't know why I enjoy this film so much. Dracula is hardly in it and the lead girl, Linda Hayden, is a bit bland. Despite this I find it very enjoyable and watch it whenever it is on. I became a longtime fan of Anthony Higgins (aka Anthony Corlan ) . He is also very good in another Hammer film, "Vampire Circus" from 1972; definitely a creepy little film .

*agreed.*

 

Taste the Blood of Dracula has its moments, but is missing, um, Dracula- whose motives for revenge seem a bit dubious in the few minutes when he is on screen ("they have killed my servant, so shall they die"- really, is it that hard to find good help?)...Although when the film decides to be wicked and subversive, it succeeds (it's implied he's having a threeway relationship with the two girls and the scene where he commands them to stake one of the men in the church [who is the father of one of them] is disturbing)

 

Where Taste the Blood... really sputters is the "climax"- all wrong. I agree that Linda Hayden is bland, and not terribly attractive, and I feel like *her character needs to die in the film.* otherwise it's following the Hammer formula laid out in the first three films too tightly. Dracula's death scene, which had become part of the draw for getting people in to the theater after the first three is also *terribly cheap, unsatsifying and anti-climactic.*

 

For all its flaws, Scars of Dracula, released later the same year as Taste the Blood...at least diverges from the formula and gives us a memorable finale.

 

Anthony Corlan is sexy though and Vampire Circus is a neat film. You can view it on netflix, it never shows up on TCM although there have been requests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite Hammer frankenstein is " The Revenge of Frankenstein". I wonder why they never did a all monster mash up- with Lee as Dracula, Cushing as Doctor Frakenstein, and of course the Wolfman. throw in some lesbian Vampires and that would have been an instant classic

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...