Horror of Dracula
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Horror of Dracula (DVD)
Every night for 600 years he rises from his coffin-bed to seek the warmblood he needs to keep himself alive!Investigating the death of hisfriend Jonathan Harker--apparently the victim of a bloodsuckingvampire--Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) discovers a diaryincriminating Count Dracula (Christopher Lee).But even as Van Helsingrealizes the horrifying truth, Dracula stalks Harker's fiancée, Lucy(Carol Nash), trapping her tortured soul in the terrifying force of hishypnotic power--and only Van Helsing may be strong enough to save her byexorcising the Horror of Dracula.]]>
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Although the film is fifty years old, Christopher Lee is still with us, still acting. While he's found a new fanbase as Saruman in Lord of the Rings and Count Dooku in the Star Wars franchise, he landed both roles because of the lasting impression of his Dracula films.
Lower down the cast, but also still with us is Geoffrey Bayldon. This actor often played far older characters. Here's he's a grey-haired porter, even though he was only 34! You may have seen him as the tour guide in Tales From The Crypt, creepy Max in Asylum and Theo the cloak-seller in The House that Dripped Blood. Like Lee, he's still working!
Likewise, the lovely Janina Faye as the little girl being pursued by the undead. Her scene with Van Helsing, as he protects her from the night's chill, is a lovely moment of calm amidst the horror. It's not easy finding talented child actors who act their age. I also enjoyed her roles in two Janette Scott movies The Day of the Triffids and The Beauty Jungle.
Christopher Lee starred as Dracula in six more Hammer films. They'd have used him more - but he was substituted by other actors when he put his foot down and avoided Brides of Dracula and The Legend of Seven Golden Vampires.
Horror of Dracula (as it was released in the USA) moved the character of Van Helsing into the spotlight, a character who's as virtuous as Dracula is evil. On the face of it, Van Helsing is an anti-hero, a man who digs up the dead and mutilates them, but played by Peter Cushing, he's not only pure, he's a polite and considerate gentleman as well. You couldn't find a better role model... who stakes vampires. It's a shame that modern audiences only know Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars, because it was such an atypical role for a versatile and compassionate actor - my very favourite in the horror genre.