This week in order to countdown to Halloween, I’ve started watching my horror films. I decided to do a bit of a British motif for the first week in October and decided to watch all 9 of Hammer Films Dracula movies. These films are great for two reasons, Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. In my top 10 countdown I ranked Lee as the second best Dracula performance (https://lagomorphflix.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/my-top-10-vampires-on-film/) this was because Bela Lugosi deserves credit for creating the endearing image of Dracula that we have today. That said: Christopher Lee’s Dracula is by far my favorite.
I should explain, just in the event that you didn’t know he ever played Dracula or got his start in some of the greatest horror films of their day. Not only is he Saruman and Count Dooku; he was also Keros the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the king of the vampires Dracula. Christopher Lee brings a certain regal air to the count and imbues it with a commanding presence. At a physically imposing 6’5” tall, Lee loomed over his co-stars and it leads to a very believable intimidation on screen. While Hammer’s Dracula does not turn into a bat and my wife complains about the production value of films the times and one leading ladies resemblance to Miss Piggy (I have to admit she did resemble a human Miss Piggy) and plot holes in films that were made over the course of 20+ years. Even she has to admit that Lee is a great Dracula.
His vampire lord was a very vindictive character, whether it is taking the loved ones of vampire hunters to replace his lost brides or having children kill their parents for destroying his servant, Dracula is not to be trifled with, and woe unto those who do. Even for those who do not understand what they are getting themselves into, once Dracula has set his eye upon you then all bets are off. Lee’s voice lends itself well to both the authority and the power found within the character (one reason he stole the courtroom scene in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow). So if you would love to see the awesomeness of Dracula as performed awesomely and you don’t mind older films (or if you do shut up I don’t want to hear it), check out the Hammer Horror films. I have taken the time to list them in order for you.
Horror of Dracula
The Brides of Dracula (Lee is absent from this film but Cushing returns as Van Helsing)
Dracula Prince of Darkness
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
Taste the Blood of Dracula
Scars of Dracula
Dracula 1972 AD (this was made due to the success of Count Yorga, Vampire see previously mentioned blog)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (Lee no longer reprised the role of Dracula for his film, but Cushing did return as Van Helsing. I have never seen this film but I did find a copy to watch once I’ve finished the other eight masterpieces.)
Happy watching and bask in the awesomeness that is Christopher Lee’s Dracula.