Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Horror of Dracula 1958

The Horror of Dracula was made in 1958 and is a British Horror company production. It was directed by Terence Fisher and written by Jimmy Sangster. The original title for the film was 'Dracula', but it was changed to 'The Horror of Dracula' to avoid any confusion with the original film, made in 1931. The film is the first of the Dracula films to be shot in colour and is also the reboot to horror. It is also the first of the films to include eroticism in the storyline. Along the lines of eroticism the scene in which Mina is waiting for Dracula to enter her room caused a great stir at the time. It was seen as far too erotic and suggestive to be allowed.

The film starts off with Jonathan Harker starting a new job as librarian at Dracula's castle. There he is bothered by a beautiful woman claiming to be held prisoner by Dracula and begging him to help her. Later, after being bitten he realizes she is actually Dracula's bride and that he must act fast to fulfil his true mission, to destroy Dracula for good. Upon entering Dracula's tomb he stakes the woman to death. Dracula upon hearing the screams of the woman wakes up and advances upon Jonathan.
Van Helsing arrives at Dracula's castle, looking for his friend Jonathan. Upon reading Jonathan's diary he goes into Dracula's tomb and with reluctance stakes his friend to free him. Helsing then returns to the house of Jonathan's fiancé to inform them of Jonathan's 'death'. Upon visiting he discovers that Dracula has started seeing Lucy, Harker's fiancée, later turning her into a vampire. As Helsing quotes 'most likely to get back at Harker for killing the previous woman'. A race against time then ensues as Helsing and Author (Lucy's brother) try to find Dracula in order to save Author's wife, Mina.

I wasn't too sure about this film. The plot was pretty good, but I found it hard to keep up where everyone was and when. There appears to be a time jump as well as a location one halfway through the film. It felt like there was hardly any distance between where Dracula's castle was and where Helsing lived. It was also noted in IMDB that this was an actual error in the film 'Errors in geography: In the climactic chase, which takes place over a single night, Arthur Holmwood and Dr. Van Helsing pursue Dracula by coach, back to his castle in Transylvania, as if it were a trip no longer than Cleveland to Columbus - never mind the English Channel.' (IMDB Goofs). Other than the confusion I felt this film was pretty good for its time.

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