Horror of Dracula

Hammer Film Productions Released 1958




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Movie Summary

Terence Fisher
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Horror of Dracula is the first in a line of several Dracula themed Hammer Horror films. In 1885, Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyessen) arrives at Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle, posing as a librarian. Jonathan's true intentions to kill Dracula are thwarted when Dracula bites him shortly after he stakes one of Dracula's female underlings. Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) arrives in Klausenberg to search for the missing Jonathan. After discovering Jonathan's fate, Dr. Van Helsing travels to the home of Arthur (Michael Gough) and Mina Holmwood (Melissa Stribbling), whose daughter Lucy (Carol Marsh) is Jonathan's fiance. After realizing that Lucy has been bitten, Dr. Van Helsing and Arthur must now protect Mina from the stalking Dracula. After eventually kidnapping Mina, Dr. Van Helsing and Arthur race after Dracula, who has returned to his castle. With the sun slowing rising, the two men must find a way to destroy Dracula once and for all or risk losing Mina forever.


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Fidelis Et Mortem, the motto on Count Dracula's family crest above the castle's fireplace, can be translated as "Loyal in Death." Taking the film's main character into context, the motto is often taken to mean "Fidelity with the Dead." Casual viewers might assume the last word of the motto is Morten, because of a fold in the crest on the final letter.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Arthur Holmwood: There's so much in Jonathan's diary I don't understand. Can Dracula really be as old as it says here?
      Dr. Van Helsing: We believe it is possible. Vampires are known to have gone on from century to century. Records show that Count Dracula could be 500 or 600 years old.
      Arthur Holmwood: Another thing...I always understood that if there were such things, they could change themselves into bats or wolves.
      Dr. Van Helsing: That's a common fallacy.

    • Arthur Holmwood: (as Van Helsing prepares to drive a stake into Lucy's heart) Is there no other way? But it's horrible!
      Dr. Van Helsing: Please try and understand. This is not Lucy, the sister you loved...it's only a shell, possessed and corrupted by the evil of Dracula! To liberate her soul and give it eternal peace, we must destroy that shell for all time! Believe me...there is no other way.

    • Tania: (meeting Lucy in the forest) I heard you call me, Aunt Lucy.
      Lucy Holmwood: (with vampire fangs showing slightly) Yes, dear. Come along.
      Tania: (taking Lucy's hand) You're cold! Where are we going?
      Lucy Holmwood: For a little walk. I know somewhere nice and quiet where we can play...

    • Tania: Please, may I see Auntie Lucy?
      Mina Holmwood: Not today, Tania.
      Tania: Is she very ill?
      Mina Holmwood: I'm afraid so.
      Tania: Do you know what's wrong with her?
      Dr. Seward: Of course, I do.
      Tania: Then why don't you make her better?

    • Mina Holmwood: (about Lucy) She seems so much weaker, Doctor.
      Dr. Seward: It's a puzzling case, Mrs. Holmwood. The symptoms are those of anemia and I'm treating her for this. It can be a slow process, of course. But I had hoped for more encouraging signs by now.

    • Dr. Van Helsing: (adding to his recorded notes) It is established that victims consciously detest being dominated by vampirism, but are unable to relinquish the practice...similar to addiction to drugs. Ultimately, death results from loss of blood...but, unlike normal death, no peace manifests itself, for they enter the fearful state of the undead. Since the death of Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula, the propagator of this unspeakable evil, has disappeared. He must be found and destroyed!

    • Dr. Van Helsing: (listening to his own recorded notes) Research on vampires...there are certain basic facts established.
      One: Light. The vampire is allergic to light...never ventures forth in the daytime. Sunlight fatal...repeat, fatal. It would destroy them.
      Two: garlic. Vampires repelled by odor of garlic.
      Three: the crucifix. Symbolizing the power of good over evil. The power of the crucifix in these cases is two-fold...it protects the normal human being, but reveals the vampire or victim of this vile contagion when in advanced stages.

    • Landlord: (to Dr. Van Helsing) Look, sir...you're a stranger here in Klausenberg. Some things are best left alone...such as interfering in things which are beyond our powers.

    • Dr. Van Helsing: What are you afraid of?
      Landlord: I don't understand you.
      Dr. Van Helsing: Why all these garlic flowers...and over the window...and up here? They're not for decoration, are they?
      Landlord: I don't know what you're talking about!
      Dr. Van Helsing: I think you do.

    • Count Dracula: (after suddenly appearing at the top of the stairs) Mr. Harker...I am glad that you have arrived safely.
      Jonathan Harker: Count Dracula?
      Count Dracula: I am Dracula. And I welcome you to my house.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Horror of Dracula was considered a very horrific film upon its initial release, and most countries required a number of scenes to be trimmed or removed. In the UK, the film received an X certificate after the required edits, which brought the film's running time down to 82 minutes. This version was approved for showing in the USA. In some countries, such as Finland and Sweden, the film was banned entirely. The most complete version was shown in Japan, and this Japanese version is now the only surviving source for many of the cut scenes.

    • In 1959, Horror of Dracula received a Hugo Award nomination for "Best Dramatic Presentation". The other nominees in the same category were The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and The Fly. No winner was chosen in that year.

    • Although Bram Stoker's Dracula novel was published in 1897 and in public domain at the time this film was made, Hammer Productions was still compelled to work closely with Universal Pictures to avoid legal complications. By contractual agreement, Universal Pictures partially financed Horror of Dracula and was entitled to global distribution rights.

    • The actual title of this film is simply Dracula. It was retitled Horror of Dracula for distribution in the USA by Universal Pictures to avoid confusion with the 1931 film which starred Bela Lugosi.


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