Without a doubt, 1958’s Dracula is the Granddaddy of Hammer Horror. Changed to Horror of Dracula for the US release (to prevent confusion as Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was still playing in the theaters, which is still Karens favorite), this film put Hammer on the map. This is still to date, along with The Satanic rites of Dracula as my all time favorite Hammer Horror film. Bottom line…Lee vs Cushing is fucking awesome!
Terence Fisher, the undisputed god of British horror, directs the film. From a directorial stand point, this film is literally flawless. And I’m jaded and bitter, so that means something. Terence’s camera angles have never been better. Every single shot of Chris Lee is absolutely menacing in the most deliciously subtle way. It is this subtlety that gives this film its creepiness. Even if you’re just a casual fan, you can not help getting sucked into the atmosphere that this film creates. This film sets the bar high in the “mood” department and Hammer Films never met this standard again (with the possible exception of The Satanic Rites of Dracula).
Horror of Dracula is one of those horror gems that come around once in a lifetime… or at least as many times as Lee decides to wear a cape. Yet, this will always be the film that cut Hammer’s teeth (no pun intended. Eh, all right, it was), and it is the best of the best. Bloody, erotic, and absolutely mesmerizing, this film needs to be viewed at least once a year.