First in the Hammer series of 'Dracula' films still retains its punch. Christopher Lee gave a career defining performance here that completely captured the Bram Stoker creation. Production values just great with some liberties taken with the source novel. All the pieces that would become Hammer signatures are present; the gothic look, the earnest performances, the heaving bosoms, the horror, the horror...
All the characters act like utter idiots, with Gough winning the contest for 'Dumbest Face,' Oh, but it's all in good fun. As Count Dracula, Christopher Lee's barely contained contempt for having to play at human respectability--and his untethered bloodlust in the heat of conquest--make for a character & career-defining performance. Peter Cushing epitomizes the Secretly Badass Distinguished English Gentleman.
Truly the great Dracula film. It takes extreme liberties with the novel at times, and although there were great moments in Brides and Prince of Darkness-this is the end all Hammer classic. Lee is a completely different Count than Bela Lugosi and it is this combined with the energy of the film which makes it hold up well as an alternative to the original Universal film. Warner needs to release the BFI restoration.
The one Hammer film which should be seen by everyone and personally my favourte dracula film if not the closest to Bram Stoker. Nobody ever played Van Helsing with the zest of Cushing and despite limited dialogue Lee is possibly the most effective screen dracula although other actors such as Bela Lugosi, Frank Langella and Gary Oldman all played the part well in their own way. A wonderfully energetic film