Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.

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Creepy Classics Spotlight Movie Last Weekend - HORROR OF DRACULA (1958)

Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). This was suggested by Dan Brenneis, Strongsville, OH. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe! Let's all Synch-Up Saturday nights at 7:30PM, or catch this week's movie sometime over the weekend!

I was at the Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill, NJ this past weekend...but still was able to catch the HORROR OF DRACULA in chunks. This has always been one of the best Hammer films. It layed the groundwork for Hammer's signature gothic European look with the colors, lighting and fear factor. Lee plays a powerful Dracula, a force to be respected and dreaded. He can toss a hero across a room with the flick of a wrist - very similar to Lon Chaney Jr.'s portrayal in SON OF DRACULA (1943).

This has the great payoff ending with Peter Cushing running across the long table and diving for the curtains....what an incrdible effect with having Lee turn to a shell of ashes before our eyes.

The only reason this isn't my favorite Hammer film is I seem to have a problem with character likeability. I have a hard time liking the heroes and women victims of this film. That leads to me not really caring too much if Lee, as Drac, gets them or not. He may just play it that way, but I've never found Michael Gough as a likeable character in films. However the shining star, and only one that I found simply perfect and relateable -- Peter Cushing. He is confident, sympathetic, and a hero in all aspects for this film....I just found it hard to care about the people he was saving.

Overall, I still find it an excellent horror film. Though my favorite Hammer film is THE BRIDES OF DRACULA (again with Cushing as Van Helsing).

-Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA

As much as I love the old Universals the Hammer films are the ones that
really take me back, these are the films I stayed up late to watch on TV
armed with pretzels and root beer. When I first started reading FM in the
early seventies these Hammer films were showing up pretty regularly on
late night TV and it was great to see the pictures of Cushing and Lee and
then be able to catch the film late one night.

Beyond it's considerable
nostalgic appeal for me, I love many things about the movie. The use of
color is amazing, the deep greens and reds in the interiors are really
powerful. Terance Fisher really had an eye for scene composition.

Christopher Lee really took Dracula into a new dimension. I love that he
played the part with a lot more gusto and darkness than Lugosi did. As
tame as a film like this appears now, it was pretty wild for it's time and
a good deal sexier than previous vampire films. I still think it packs a
punch when Dracula comes tearing into the room to chase his woman away
from Harker with eyes ablaze and blood dripping.

Bashers may remember
that Bob Tinnell showed the graveyard scene with Lucy a few years back to
demonstrate use of sound effects and foreshadowing. Did anyone else
notice that dead leaves are always falling right before a vampire enters
the scene? Peter Cushing's dash across the table and onto the curtains is
the greatest dispatching of a vampire ever. I don't think the film looks
dated at all fifty two years later. I might even pick it as my favorite
Dracula film of all.

-Kevin Slick, Colorado

One of the best Hammer Films ever stars Christopher Lee in his first ever role of Count Dracula and peter Cushing as Van Helsing.
Great colors and bright red blood enhance this tale of the vampire king attempting to get himself a bride.
Excellent movie all the way.
Kevin Coon
Twin Falls, Idaho

Hey Bash Synchers!

This is a real classic, one of my favorite vampire flicks of all time. Have seen it numerous time, most recently early this year after buying a DVD set with 4 Hammer Dracula movies. Great production values, genuine frightful scenes and Peter Cushing. Who could ask for anything more.

Right from the get go this movie grabs me with its music score, shrill brass, heart throbbiing beat, great preparation for the thrills to come.
Hey! Who spilled red paint! I guess them brits have brighter blood!
Cool matte painting of the castle, a lost art.
Wow what great handwriting Dracula has! Must of went to school for that!
The bride of Dracula! Hot!
Great cut to the big guy himself!
There is steam coming out when they must have been cold!
Lee´s performance is interesting. He is not doing the dramatics of Lugosi. We know he is evil, but at the outset seems quite matter of fact and business like.
WOW - Harker as a vampire hunter. Even though I have seen this numerous times, that surprised me again!
Don´t be wandering about John! Oh they always get in trouble that way!
Great scene with bride and Dracula, no fooling around, table jumping action!
Come on John, get a move on before it is too late...Well got the girl, but too late for Drac!
I wonder why Dracula left the dungeon when he got up, did he go to the bathroom?

My main man Mr. Cushing, my favorite horror actor!
That creepy white coffin and hearse! Gives me the heeby jeebys!
I dig Peters velvet red suit! Groovy!
Another great visual and audio cut to the big guy, coming to get Lucy.
What a strange fireplace in Van Helsings office.
"If you don´t, she will die" With an upraised finger!
Don´t do it Gerta, DON´T DO IT! Every time I see this movie, they make the same mistakes!!!
Creepy how they presented Lucy dead, I love the editing and pace of this movie.
Lucy the Vampire! Heeby Jeeby time!
Confrontation of Lucy, one of the great horror set pieces!
Some real gore and horrible screaming! Lucy´s death!
Our comedy relief, the coughing postal worker and rude messenger boy.
Check her neck, CHECK HER NECK! Oh, they never do the right thing in this movie!
Some more comedy relief with the goofy undertaker.
The moment they realize he is resting right under them, the music, him slamming the door - Classic!
More comedy relief!
High action finale! I love the run across the table and the jumping on the curtains.
Fantastically horrible death scene. Now pick up them ashes, it´s time to work on a sequel!
I like the way they didn´t remake the typical Dracula story, but added twists to make it more original. Acting, sets, atmosphere, and music, all superb. A great night of terror at the movies.
Next week, back to the schlock fest with Frankensteins Daughter. I have been able to avoid it for 46 years, but NOW I must obey and see it for the very first time, I am doomed!
San Luis, Mexico

Hi Ron,
Here are my thoughts on HORROR OF DRACULA:

I love the James Bernard theme music. I wish someone would set lyrics to it. “DRAC-U-LA!!! Oh crap, it’s DRAC-U-LA!!!”
It’s interesting that the film open with passages from the diary of Jonathan Harker. That’s an influence from the Stoker novel that seldom makes it to film.
I never noticed Dracula’s coat of arms before. Fidelis Et Morten – Fidelity With The Dead.
Lee’s cape makes him look bat-like in a few scenes. The imagery seems so obvious yet few filmmakers ever take advantage of it.
I love the moody, carefully crafted lighting by Jack Asher. It makes those small, limited sets look like a million bucks. There seems to be an autumnal motif to the film – fog, falling leaves, barren trees, people wearing overcoats. Fall, the season of death.
Those English accents seem out of place in Middle Europe. Than again, Universal had its share of mixed dialects too.
The one clinker in the cast is Michael Gough. He seems really miscast in his role. Gough needs a part where he can really chew the scenery. Here is reduced to being a colorless, one-dimensional love interest.
The film has some odd bits of comedy relief – Van Helsing “taking to himself”, the bribing of the official at the Customs House, Miles Mallleson as the scene-stealing undertaker, the crashing of the gate near the film’s climax. The last one is the worst – it really falls flat.
Despite its reputation, the film has moments of great subtlety. Many of the shock moments cut away before you see anything too gruesome.
Holmwood meets Lucy outside the crypt. A great scene, one that is overlooked by even the most hardcore mavens of vampire cinema.
I always wondered about the cut scenes (Harker getting staked and Dracula blistering in the sunlight). Stills exist so it seems logical that they were filmed. And yet 50 years later, not a print to be found.
Peter Cushing makes it look so easy. His Van Helsing is a model of strength and moral authority. And it’s so very different from his take on Victor Frankenstein.
The screech of the owl. I saw this film on the big screen once and that moment made the whole audience jump!
Lee makes a big impression despite limited screen time. His Dracula is magnetic yet thoroughly evil, with a brute physicality that is quite impressive.
Dracula’s demise – Best Vampire Death Scene Ever.
Every film adaptation of the Stoker novel has its pros and cons and HORROR OF DRACULA is no exception. The film’s pace is probably way too slow for modern audiences and some of the shocks seem tame today. But in its best moments, the film delivers some fine performances and highly memorable sequences. Four stars in my book.
“Do exactly as I say and we may be able to save her. If you don’t, she will die.”
Steven Thornton
LaSalle, MI

Hi Ron
Thanks for picking one of my all time favorites for my birthday!

"Horror of Dracula" is one of those rare examples that show two actors can create their own stamp and make the same part their signature role! From the very begging notes James Bernard's weeping, haunting score, creating a new "Toccata in Fugue" for the Hammer generation, the sweeping camera across the land at the end of the forest takes us over the great castle but down to Dracula's lair, and the splashes of blood also wake up to the Eastman color palette. Really, this film precedes "Psycho" when what seems to be our protagonist is killed in the first quarter. Poor Harker, while he full well knows of Dracula's evil, he's too much of a gentleman to not succumb to the otherwise obvious lady vampire.

Lee's entrance as Dracula, silhouetted at the top of the stairs lets us know even when he's not onscreen he will loom over the films as an undead Kurtz. While Cushing is classically heroic as Van Helsing, a much more athletic take than any others, it's still Lee's total presence from charm and commanding aristocracy, to snarling bloodsucker that was star making. He moves like a cat around his castle, and crawls like a bat over Mina. I could go on, but to summarize and paraphrase, its the crown jewel of Hammer, a Gothic fairy tale in a realm of eternal autumn , of swirling leaves, bathed in a blue supernatural moonlight.

-Michael Joyner, Mechanicsville, VA

Hey Everybody.

Another great Saturday night flick. Along with Curse of Frankenstein this is the best of the Cushing/Lee Hammer films. Some disturbing scenes especially for a movie made in the fifties, such as: Dracula's bride attacking Harker, Lucy trying to lure the young girl away and when Dracula tries to bury Mina alive. The final confrontation between Van Helsing and Dracula is a classic with Van Helsing removing the curtains and destroying Dracula by sunlight and then the final shot of Dracula's ashes being blown away.

The cast is first rate especially Peter Cushing playing a younger Van Helsing, but its Christopher Lee's performance as Dracula that makes the movie. He portrays Dracula as a powerful menacing presence. More like a mob enforcer rather then some suave continental. Closer to the Lon Chaney Jr Dracula in Son of Dracula, an interpretation that I quite like, than the Lugosi Dracula. On a whole just a great movie. Talk to all later.

Bob Swaney
Manalapan, NJ

Hi Ron and all other classic horror film maniacs out there in the remote forests of Transylvania, I hope you enjoyed this past Saturday`s viewing of "Horror Of Dracula" (1958) with me on the simulcast! ---

Well- all horror fans can look back to their innocent days of childhood and remember ONE film that eternally cemented them (us) as being a fan for the rest of their (our) lives! For me, this gothic masterpeice done in gorgeous Technicolor by the greatly revered Hammer Film Studios in England is my personal "HOLY GRAIL" of ALL things HORROR film based! (This is an equivalent of an Oscar Sweep for me - 1)Favorite Horror Film 2) Favorite Vampire Film 3) Favorite Hammer Film AND 4) Favorite Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee film ! ---Also, This film ranks #4 on my all-time favorite movies list! (in general)

When watching this one- you have to ask yourself a frank, honest question- What`s not to like here?? The answer (TO ME AND I HOPE TO MANY OTHERS AS WELL!) -IS NOTHING! This film is an all-time classic and other than the obvious fault apparent (lack of originality- "Nosferatu" {1922) and the Universal versions in 1931 came before it) this movie is pretty flawless!

I vividly remember first watching this Gothic chiller on Superhost`s "MAD THEATRE" back in 1974 when I was at the tender age of 7 years old when it aired at 1:00 P.M. on WUAB-TV CHANNEL 43 early one Saturday afternoon! My only regret is that I was not old enough to catch this one on the big screen when it premeired back in 1958! (I wasn`t even around yet!) ----TALK ABOUT BEING BORN TWO GENERATIONS LATE FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!!---

Anyway, on to the review, everyone!--coming off of the solid international successes of "The Quartermass Xperiment" (1955) and "The Curse Of Frankenstein" {1957-also starring Cushing and Lee as well as Valerie Gaunt} president James Carreras and his company next decided to do a film based on that little book by Bram Stoker and hit box-office gold-and the rest is history! With this production, Hammer Horror hit it`s possible zenith and all the actors and technicians came together to create a cinematic triumph of the eternal battle of good vs.evil. Filmed at the legendary Bray Studios (famous for it`s family atmosphere) by the talented and gracious Terence Fisher (1904-1980) and starring the late,great Peter Cushing (1913-1994) as Dr. Van Helsing (in a terrific, intense and physically-active performance for the ages) and Christopher Lee (in a career-changing "TERROR-RIFIC" role) as Count Dracula this film helped change the course of horror film history for the next 15 years.

What/Where would this movie be without that great, intense and ominous music score by the wonderful late, great James Bernard (1925-2001)??!! The opening credits of this film when the camera glides down showing parts of Dracula`s castle (including that creepy eagle statue and the door to where Dracula`s coffin resides) while that fantastic, bombastic music plays on the soundtrack lets you know you are in for a treat!

The scene where he stakes the vampire woman and then turns around to stake Dracula-but discovers to his horror that the vampire count has left his coffin -and then sees Dracula enter the mauseleum and slam the door behind him (All while the sun is going down!) is EXTREMELY FRIGHTNING and another classic scene in this film! -IT DOESN`T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS FELLOW FANS!!---My rating: 5/5!! THE GREATEST HORROR FILM OF ALL-TIME! (just my opinion)

- Dan Brenneis-Strongsville,Ohio-Monster Bash Staff Member and LifeTime FilmFan Extroadinairre.


You can get the DVD of HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) in the Complete DVD Catalog in-line at Creepy Classics.


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