Saturday, April 22, 2006

Horror of Dracula

Yes, while you're using your Netflix membership to get obscure black and white European movies with subtitles, I'm wallowing in trash. But for some reason I just felt a need to see Horror of Dracula again. It's one of the best-known of the Hammer horror movies, and for good reason. Christopher Lee is great as Dracula, the best ever in my opinion. And Peter Cushing is the definitive Van Helsing. (We won't even speak of Hugh Jackman.) The Victorian period detail is superb, the score is rousing, and the color photography is wonderful. What more could you want?

Oh. The story. Well, let's face it: the plot has undergone some radical changes from Stoker's book. That's okay. The spirit remains. And while I was bothered by a couple of little inconsistencies, they didn't bother Judy at all. So why complain?

While Horror of Dracula was considered ground-breakingly gory when it first appeared (1958), I think current audiences for horror movies would find it bland. There's really very little blood, and the director never goes for the gross-out scene. It's all rather tasteful, which I think works in the movie's favor. Take a look at the looks on the faces of those sexually repressed Victorian women when Dracula approaches. That's really all you need. Anything else would be overkill, so to speak. Check it out.


Todd Mason said...

One reason I haven't joined Netflix yet is an insufficiency of b&w subtitled films, trashy or obscure or both, horror and otherwise. But, going back and refreshing the memories is usually fun...some year, I'm going to find again that late Hammer (or Amicus?) vampire film which was the first film I saw in a theater on my own (my mother sat with my six or seven year old self till she determined I could handle it).

Bill said...

Do you remember the name of it? Netflix might have it.

Todd Mason said...

Nope. Much like the first pulp sf story I read as a similarly-aged sprat, five or so, which I haven't found again, although I suspect I was reading it in an Ultimate reprint magazine (say, THRILLING SCIENCE FICTION or SCIENCE FICTION CLASSICS), Lowndes's FAMOUS SCIENCE FICTION or one of the Popular Library WONDER STORY ANNUALs. They seem like likely culprits to have been left around where I could stumble across them at the turn of the '70s.

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