By Peter Hutchings
Peter Hutchings' many faceted account of Hammer's 1958 gothic horror vintage explores the ways that the historical past of the Dracula tale, in addition to the Hammer company's personal fortunes affected the character of the movie, and appears heavily on the movie itself and the detailed functionality sorts of its stars, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
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Extra resources for Dracula: A British Film Guide
TWO ‘I’m Dracula’ Principal photography on Hammer’s Dracula commenced on November and concluded on January , and the completed ﬁlm was premièred in both Britain and America in May . For Hammer in the late s, this was one of its longer schedules, but by any other standards it was a short production period preceded by a short preproduction and followed by a short post-production. The completed ﬁlm bore all the hallmarks of a low-budget project: a small cast, a small number of locations, no crowd scenes or scenes of elaborate spectacle, some illogicalities in the screenplay, and, along with other ﬁlms emerging from the low-budget sector of the British ﬁlm industry at this time, a lack of prestige.
At ﬁrst glance, Harker as revealed by his ﬁrst diary entry does appear to be the stereotypically unsuspecting victim. His voiceover notes that the coachman would not take him close to the castle, that no birds sing in the area, and that the temperature drops as he enters the castle grounds, but despite these sinister portents, he approaches the castle with no apparent anxiety. However, some of his early comments are decidedly DRACULA 44 . Dracula (Christopher Lee) visits the Holmwood house. ambiguous.
One thinks here, to give just two examples, of the ‘creation’ scene in The Bride of Frankenstein () and the heroine’s night-time journey to the voodoo ceremony in I Walked with a Zombie (). To a certain extent, the opening sequence of Dracula does precisely what these other sequences do; it evokes a particular mood, a mood of ominous foreboding. Something evil and powerful is lurking here, the sequence is telling us, something that will eventually appear to threaten us. But even by the standards of the horror genre, and especially ﬁlm horror in the s, the Dracula sequence is excessive.
Dracula: A British Film Guide by Peter Hutchings