Featured photo above by Artist Daniel Horne.
Hammer Film’s Dracula was released in 1958. It was a British horror film directed by Terence Fisher and written by Jimmy Sangster based on Bram Stoker’s novel of the same name.
This version of Dracula was the first in the series of Hammer Horror films featuring the now famous, Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. Dracula also teamed up Lee with Peter Cushing who played Doctor Van Helsing, along with Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh, and John Van Eyssen.
When Dracula open in the U.S. market, the film was retitled Horror of Dracula as to avoid confusion with the earlier Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi, and the film was released in the U.S. in 1958 on a double feature with the Universal film The Thing That Couldn’t Die.
Most monster kids from the 1960’s and 1970’s were introduced to Hammer Films which were then being run on evening television. It swept the genre in the U.S, and re-introduced Frankestein’s Monster and Dracula to a new generation. Hammer films, unlike Universals monsters were filmed in color. The color versions of these classics gave the films more realistic scenes, showing blood and a little more sexual content. One could always count on some nice cleavage when watching a Hammer film!
Ingrid Pitt a German Hottie and Hammer Star! She did not appear in the Horror of Dracula… But hey.. She didn’t have too to make it into this blog post!
The Horror of Dracula was produced by Bray Studios in 1957 costing approximately £81,000 which is about equal to $98,000 (modern U.S. Dollars). As Count Dracula, Lee’s characterization created the image of the fanged vampire in pop culture.
British Pop- Culture expert Sir Christopher Frayling writes, “Dracula introduced fangs, red contact lenses, décolletage, ready-prepared wooden stakes and – in the celebrated credits sequence – blood being spattered from off-screen over the Count’s coffin.” Lee also introduced a dark, brooding sexuality to the character, with Tim Stanley stating, “Lee’s sensuality was subversive in that it hinted that women might quite like having their neck chewed on by a stud”.
According to a 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw Horror of Dracula ranked the 65th best British film ever. Empire magazine ranked Lee’s portrayal as Count Dracula the 7th Greatest Horror Movie Character of All Time.