Thursday, November 14, 2013

Horror of Dracula (1958)

Amateur vampire sleuths Harker (Nobody) and Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) look to end the reign of the evil count.

You know the basic premise. Here, we mix up the characters (Harker is betrothed to Lucy and Mina is married to Arthur) change the details (Transylvania? Never heard of it), lose Renfield, and film it in color. Now Drac has fangs and there is blood to spurt. No ta-tas like in later Hammer films, but it's a start.

Despite the campy feel, I liked this complete reinterpretation of the story. So many of these films are unofficial remakes anyhow, it's nice when it's done well. Fairly well, anyhow. And because it was such a departure from the classic story, you tend to throw the book comparison conversation out the window from the get-go. Christopher Lee makes for a better than average count, starting off as the dashing and mysterious type before showing himself to be the fiend he is.

Hmmm ... what more to say .... The title was changed from simply Dracula in America for the best reason I've seen so far: Bela's classic was still bouncing around theaters and they wanted to avoid confusion. I accept that. Arthur is played by Michael Gough, whom dedicated readers may remember from Horrors of the Black Museum but actually from Batman. Gosh, that's about it. AMRU 3.5.

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