"In 1962," begins Ronald Bergan in the Guardian, "Don Sharp was a minor ex-actor, hack writer and jobbing director of British B-films, when he was offered the chance to make a gothic horror movie for Hammer, 'the studio that dripped blood.' In the event, The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) rescued both Sharp, who has died aged 89, and Hammer from the doldrums. The studio, which had suffered several expensive flops, turned to Sharp due to his experience in low-budget filmmaking. Sharp, who claimed to have never watched a horror movie, let alone directed one, quickly steeped himself in the Hammer style by spending a week or so watching past successes, principally those directed by Terence Fisher and Freddie Francis. The Kiss of the Vampire, made with a smaller budget and an unstarry cast, recruited mostly from television, scored at the box office, and Sharp became associated with horror movies thereafter."
The Kiss of the Vampire was Hammer's "second attempt at a Dracula follow-up without Christopher Lee (or indeed Dracula)," notes Empire's Owen Williams. "He did however get to work with Lee on the subsequent The Devil Ship Pirates and Rasputin the Mad Monk, and away from Hammer, the pair also collaborated on the first two films in the Fu Manchu series, before the reigns slipped to Jesus Franco."
Adds the Alt Film Guide's Andres Soares: "Sharp's other notable efforts include The Death Wheelers / Psychomania (1973), about a youth gang terrorizing a small town; the IRA drama Hennessy (1975), with A-listers Rod Steiger and Lee Remick; The Thirty-Nine Steps, an underrated remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 classic starring Robert Powell in Robert Donat's old man-on-the-run role; and the slow-moving adventure drama Bear Island, featuring Vanessa Redgrave and Donald Sutherland."