Tuesday, August 5, 2014

278 of 1001 Movies: Horror of Dracula (1958)

It's no secret that I really love horror movies, or at least horror movies from the 90's and before. I can't think of many that really have sold me since the 2000's started. If I had to pick a favorite decade it really is a toss up between the 70's and 80's. Before those decades though there were ones to inspire those, and they are some strong contenders for some of the best of the best like Horror of Dracula. It's creepy, a little over the top, and gives a great go at old school horror of the 30's and 40's even though this was the 50's moving into the 60's.

Summary: Jonathon Harker arrives to much mystery at the castle of Dracula, where he thinks he has arrived to just be a manager of estates. He ends up attacking Dracula though, and setting off a series of dangerous events for his own family after Dracula finds an attraction to Harker's fiancee. Now he is stalking his family, and the only help they might have is with Van Helsing who knows more about what is happening than he is letting on.

Acting: Christopher Lee might be best known currently for his role in the Lord of the Rings movies, but he at one time made the staple performance of Dracula. He is the strongest actor of the movie, and does create a really eerie Dracula. If you're into a less gory Dracula, or even darker one for that matter, then you might be into this version that goes more into the traditional portrayal. Now the other actors went a bit more traditional too in their acting of terror. With lots of over done faces and lots of high pitched screaming to last you a while. Peter Cushing is Dr. Van Helsing, and while it was a little over the top it makes the movie a bit more worth watching.

Filming: This is one of the first horror movies I know of that was done in color. While I love the color, and feel that technicolor is really beautiful, it does detract from some of the horror that you get from the older movies. You may lack in a lot of gore or frightening images that occurs later in movies, but the black and white layers on mystery you don't normally get with modern movies. Regardless, I have to say I love the color, and the fun of an old school horror movie is still there.

Plot: This movie seems even more vaguely based on the book than other versions I have seen. They did make a series from this first movie though. It seems the goal before the 70's was to cram a horror movie into at least 80 minutes. There may have been a few that pushed further than that but a 90 minute horror movie was like the Ben Hur of horror for the day. Anyways, I still think they do a good job of summing up the story, and considering they don't give you much more to work with as far as characters here you might as well pull out the frights and end.

If you're into checking out, or even continuing to watch classic horror movies then this is a good one. To be honest there are very few weak ones considering the formula they all stick to is quite the same. There are others that try to dig the characters to be a little deeper, and by 1958 well you were just churning out horror characters.

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