The color period for Gothic horrors started with Hammer Films' 1957 "Curse of Frankenstein" featuring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. The film may have nauseated critics but the returns were well enough that Hammer wanted to follow up with another Gothic monster, Count Dracula. Returning to director duties was Terence Fisher, James Bernard would compose the score, and Jack Asher was photographer. Peter Cushing turned to the side of good by portraying Van Helsing. Christopher Lee stepped forth to play Dracula.
Dracula has been portrayed in many movies by several actors. Lee is among the most recognized along with Bela Lugosi. Lee brought the vampire more than "sex appeal," he gave the creature an animal ferocity, that with the added Technicolor blood, must have been shocking and exciting to viewers in 1958. Peter Cushing's Van Helsing makes for a worthwhile adversary in that he is still studying vampires and is by no means an expert. He does carry knowledge, enough to track Dracula for what is once of the most memorable endings in horror history.
This 35mm print is missing the original distributor logo and begins directly with the fade up on the credit sequence and ends with the final frame of the end credits. Color (not a Technicolor print) is strong throughout; a few instances throughout the first and third reels have scenes go a tad darker; another source seems to have been spliced in at these moments, however the color is still very good. The sound is even and strong with James Bernard's score heavily pronouncing DRA-CU_LA! What is amazing is that all the elements of this movie can still give me goosebumps (not for scares, but excitement) especially during the climatic final scene.
Not having a 35mm projector, I was able to partner with a local cinema to have a showing. They went out of the way and made it very special. Despite having tickets available for only two weeks, it was almost a sell-out crowd. Keeping film alive is important and I am happy to have been a part of it while sharing one of my favorite films. I recently acquired a Technicolor 16mm print of Horror of Dracula which I hope to view soon and see how it compares to this 35mm print. One final note about the 35mm print, it contains the full staking of Lucy which the print that Warner Bros. has for showings, does not.