Wednesday, October 5

31 Days Of Horror: Day 5

Horror Of Dracula
Dir: Terence Fisher
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing,
and Michael Gough

Today I paid a visit with a film from the Hammer House of Horror. Hammer Studios is a U.K. property started in 1934. The early years of Hammer Studios focused on what seemed like everything but horror films, and more on popular genre of that time. It wasn’t until 1955, and the production of The Quartermass Experiment, that Hammer found a niche in the horror genre. In 1958, the iconic Horror Of Dracula was released, solidifying Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as “gothic” idols. With all the adaptations of the Dracula story, it seemed that Horror of Dracula was the first to suspend the large shadow of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr, both released in the 1930’s.  There is this wonderful quality that the Hammer Horror films seem to have, a mix of stark imagery and grandiose elements. This film is still fantastic; Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing play the roles of hero and villain so simply, seeming almost tailored to portray these characters. Lee is a spectacular Count, creating the fantasy and bravado of the character, while Cushing portrays Van Helsing with a quiet, cool, calm demeanor.  The House of Hammer created legendary images that horror fans can instantly recognize, creating some of the identifying attributes of the iconic characters. Without Hammer, these characters might have been shaped differently or changed altogether. Day 5 was all about nostalgia, and a renewed gratitude to the House Of Hammer.

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