Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sir Christopher Lee Week: The Horror of Dracula

Welcome back for Day 2 of Sir Christopher Lee Week. As mentioned prior the man of the week had more than a few reoccurring appearances with his main character. Harken back to 1958 when Dracula was tall, majestic and all the while vicious and one would dare say brutal. So grab your crucifix, holy water and a few stakes. This is the Horror of Dracula.

Do I have something on my chin?

Veteran Hammer Film Director Terrence Fisher (The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Revenge of Frankenstein, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Man Could Cheat Death) brings in my humble opinion a timeless tale of the misdeeds of the Lord of the Vampires. We open with our movie on Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen of Chance Meeting, Four Sided Triangle and Quartermass 2) a mind mannered librarian arriving in Transylvania to catalog Count Dracula’s extensive library but in fact is to investigate Count Dracula (Christopher Lee of Horror of Dracula, The Three 
Musketeers, The Man with the Golden Gun, Dracula and Son and Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones) and the possible link he has with a cult of vampirism. Soon after encountering one of Dracula’s brides, Harker is determined to rid the world of this undead monster, manages to stake the girl but is thereby angered Dracula and is slain by him.

Almost certain that is not how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing of The Curse of Frankenstein, The Abominable Snowman, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Brides of Dracula, Dr. Who and the Daleks, Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope and Shock Waves) arrives in Transylvania in search of the whereabouts of his associate; only to find Harker had been made a vampire and he slew his former colleague. He finds a few detailed clues that Dracula has vacated the country in search for Harker’s fiancĂ©, Lucy. Desperate to catch the fiend before he has the girl under his spell, Helsing rushes back to London in the hopes that he can end Dracula’s tyranny of terror.

How about some groovy facts on the film

Christopher Lee had 13 lines in this movie, then it was snarls and slapping people about.
  Peter Cushing gets top billing but appears 25 minutes into the movie.   An unusual move for the director but I am not  judging.    On several occasions Lee complained about his contact lenses that were there for effect to shock and awe the audience but they were the hardened lenses  and colored so he couldn't always see and he missed the vampire woman a few times trying to grasp her.

What can I say about this movie? Well it is one of the Technicolor greats. Filmed in standard 35mm stock and has two very distinguished British actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The film has a good pace and does not leave much time to moll over scene to scene. The wide angle shots of the castle’s interior will astound you. The musical score in junction with the exterior castle shots and even those of the graveyard just sends mild chills down the spine. The fog on the graveyard followed by the orchestration just sets the tone of this movie. Lee’s portrayal of Dracula is one of elegance and object cruelty. Cushing is steadfast as a hero and you get the feeling would sacrifice his own life to end Dracula.

Sorry gore fans this is not that messy for you but I think the plot and performances should make up for that. As for the rest of you that may have grown up on these films as well as your children did. Pop it in your DVD player and give it the love it deserves.