Horror of Dracula
Time to finally hit up that Hammer Horror classic that kicked the studio off into much riches and a huge pile of sequels and spinoffs. Not to mention the second pairing of the dynamic duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, which lasted through dozens of films and left an indelible mark on horror history. Was this your first introduction to Dracula?
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Horror of Dracula (1958)
Episode 293, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello and welcome to 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: and I’m Craig.
Todd: So today we are going back to something that I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time, especially when I heard that Craig had never seen this before. This is 1958’s Horror of Dracula. The original title was Dracula, but it got changed to horror of Dracula in order to avoid copyright issues, uh, with Universal’s Dracula in the United States.
But this is Hammer horror, film production, starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. One of the most iconic duos in Dracula history, and definitely the movie that put hammer films on the map. Hammer horror. I don’t know. I kind of likened this to, um, Freddy Krueger and. You know, hammer, um, you know, it was making some horror films here and there before this one, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were in a curse of Frankenstein.
Which was a bit of a hit for them, but it w it was this movie, the Horror of Dracula that was an international hit. It made like 25 or $28 million worldwide in 1958. Pretty much set the tone for, uh, uh, a bank rolled the studio, all this and all of these subsequent Dracula movies. That they released, I think there were seven or eight after this, that Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee or some combination thereof basically felt obligated to do for hammer and Christopher Lee himself.
I think one of the most recognizable, I think he’s played Dracula. I think it still stands that he’s played Dracula more times than any other actor ever has, at least in the movies. And he even did Dracula for other studies. So it wasn’t just the hammer series that he played Dracula. He got quite sick of it didn’t want to be typecast in this role.
In fact, my understanding is that he didn’t really even like playing Dracula in these movies because he didn’t, he didn’t really think that their version of Dracula was very true to the novel. Yeah. I mean, for a guy whose popularity really grew in burst forth on this sort of thing, I don’t think he ever came out and, you know, was openly disdainful of it.
But, uh, he definitely, it was well-known he wasn’t too keen after awhile on playing this character much more. Flint and iconic performance in as Dracula, as much as you can say, an iconic performance, he really isn’t in the movie all that much. And he doesn’t have a lot to do. And that, I think you can say that about the subsequent movies too, but I would almost argue that Dracula is kind of like that the only other time we’ve done the Dracula story, which was black ULA, right.
And it wasn’t until we saw black ULA that I think I realized the obvious, I guess that Dracula as a movie is as a story is kind of a. The play, the movies, every time I’ve ever seen the, the original Dracula story, it’s all, you know, he comes out at night and he does mysterious things. But then during the day, he’s asleep at a coffin.
So, you know, all of these shows are like, uh, oh no, somebody has been bitten. Can we save them now? Uh, what do we do? We talk about it for a while. We investigate, we try to figure out where he is or where he might strike next. We maybe set up some traps, then night comes and he does something. They almost get him or he kind of gets away and then the morning is, and then we’re subjected to more talking and investigating and discussing and you know, it’s like most of it ends up being that kind of thing.
It’s not your zombie movie action packed kind of story. Yeah. Traditionally. And so this movie is really no different, but it was very different from the universal Dracula that came out. And I think that is one thing that really appealed to people in 1958, because before that they had. Of course the Dracula novel and then the wildly popular play from which the universal movie, the Dracula movie from the thirties was based on.
And most of the Dracula adaptations actually ended up getting based on the play, which was based on the novel. And I think this is what. First movies of its time. Anyway, that said, let’s go back to the source material, shake things up a little bit from that place. So you don’t have it all sort of happening in the same area.
It’s not all the same for characters Renfield is not even in this at all. Right. It even puts it in. Like the whole movie is in Germany, which is interesting. And I think they did that for budgetary reasons or just to kind of simplify things on the production end. So here we have the horror of Dracula and personally, from my perspective, this was the first Dracula movie I ever saw and I saw it on TV.
I think it was probably a Saturday morning and it made a deep impression on me, one or two scenes that I really remember the most obviously are the scenes where Dracula attacks, but the. Of the movie where Dracula dissolves once he’s exposed to the light and the whole fight scene that happens there was just permanently.
Impressed upon my brain as a kid. And is one of those things that even as an adult, I always go back to is something that really freaks me out really scared me really, really stuck with me over the years. I don’t know if anybody watching it today is going to have the same feelings that I had when I was a kid watching this for the first time.
But maybe kids today watching this for the first time. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s a different movie in a different time period, but, uh, I was so happy to revisit it after not having. Pretty much since that time. So how about you, Craig? I guess you had never seen this before, right? Or do you remember maybe catching a glimpse of it or two as a kid?
Craig: No. I mean, I’ve seen images from it and in all of the like retrospectives and documentaries that I’ve watched about classic horror monster movies it’s always discussed. Um, but I had never seen it being a big fan of horror in general. I remember reading the novel. In high school and. Being surprisingly underwhelmed
Todd: by it.
Yeah, me too. A hundred percent here. I’m
Craig: thinking, you know, it’s Dracula. That’s, that’s awesome. You know, the, the iconic vampire story, and then it’s this a pistol airy, novel. It’s all told through like letters and journals, diaries,
Todd: pigs, and like,
Craig: I don’t know. I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s really. Very exciting.
And ultimately that’s how I felt about this movie too. Like, uh, I get it like, but I know the story of Dracula. In fact, I know it better than this movie seems to, and that that’s not fair because I understand that for budgetary reasons and even just simple, you know, for. The sake of time, you know, for the sake of time, you can’t include all of the characters and all of the subplots and relationships of which there are a lot in the novel.
You can’t include all of that, but this. The story just felt a kind of watered down and I can’t help, but compare it to the only Dracula that I am really familiar with, which is Bram Stoker’s Dracula and, and Bram
Todd: Stoker the movie. Right. Francis Ford Coppola did the night. Right?
Craig: Right. It was just, it was done really well.
It was sexy. And Dracula was really scary. And like some of the things that they eliminated from this for budgetary reasons, like any notion of Dracula’s shape-shifting abilities and that types of stuff, like it’s, it’s vaguely mentioned.
Todd: Another thing. I always understood that if there were such things they could change themselves into bats or wolves, that’s a common fantasy Homeland.
The study of these creatures as being my life’s work, I cut it up. It says for some of the greatest artists in Europe, and yet we’ve only just scratched the surface. You see a great deal is known about the Vimpat bet, but details of these reanimated bodies of the. The undead as we call them, let’s say obscure.
Many biologists, but
Craig: not believe they exist. Dracula is only in the movie for seven minutes. In that seven minutes, he only has 16 lines. Those are all at the very, very beginning, the rest of the time, he just grunts and snarls at people. And he just shows up every once in a while to walk into a woman’s room.
Like that’s it that’s the role, but just walk into a woman’s room. Kind of menacing kind of sexy, but
Todd: to be fair, isn’t that basically Dracul, I mean, isn’t that kind of like, I mean, every Dracula we’ve ever seen on the screen, not, not, you know, vampires, we’re talking Dracula Dracula right there. That pretends to be based on Bram Stoker’s novel.
I mean like Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula was trying really, really hard and it was, you know, they, they had like reincarnation and flashbacks and speculative material in their trying, you know, Super sexy, sort of orgiastic lesbian scenes and things like that. I mean, it was really trying to go over the top and I think you could argue took its own liberties right on the Bram Stoker novel in order to, to be that.
So I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a more faithful adaptation, although it pretended to be, I guess maybe
Craig: it just has something to do with the fact that I saw it when I was in high school and it was really sexy
Todd: and it was, there’s no question about it. And
Craig: I don’t know if I’d say it was scary, but it definitely had its scary moments with, um, was it Anthony Hopkins?
Is that who, who was it that played Dracula Gary Oldman. He played the younger Dracula, but I don’t remember if they just put him in super old makeup or if there was another actor that played him as an older guy. I don’t remember, but like this shadows stretching across the wall, the almost, I don’t know.
I really liked that movie. And so. Watching this one, you know, I was thinking, I was thinking my dad probably saw this in the theater on a Saturday afternoon for a nickel and probably loved it.
Todd: Yeah, you’re probably right. Or Todd saw it on a Saturday afternoon after Saturday morning cartoons and also loved it.
Craig: Yeah. By comparison, just. Based on the time period in which it was made compared to today. It’s just, it’s really, really tame, frankly. I just, I was, was. Board. I did appreciate, you know, it’s cool to see Peter Cushing and, uh, these, these other guys who I know are, are horror icons and, and, and rightfully so.
And I respect that and having seen them in other things, you know, particularly. More contemporary things. I mean, both these main guys were in the star wars films, which I was a huge fan of as a kid. And so they’re really familiar and there’s comfort in that familiarity, but just as far as, uh, the movie itself goes, I don’t know, like even the, the characters, the characters that I wanted to be invested in, like I I’m in the novel.
And it’s been so long, but, um, I remember being particularly invested in the characters of, um, Lucy and Mina, knowing that they were both constantly threatened and at risk, I was really into that and like, I just didn’t get that from this. I didn’t particularly care. I don’t care
Todd: for it’s hard. Right? It’s hard to know.
I mean, at, for me, maybe you don’t feel this way, but for me, I’m just, I’m still familiar with the Dracula story. There’s no tension there anymore. There’s no mystery. This movie that’s I, again, I, I, and I, I felt the same way about black, yellow. Really. The only thing that kind of kept me interested in black ULAs was like, you know, how do they kind of switched it up?
But ultimately I think we both agreed the story was just dread Dracula’s story, you know? Just that we all know it. And it’s kind of boring really. I mean, the idea of it is pretty freaky, but if it’s like a mystery where you already know the plot, you’re just going to sit there and, um, and watch unfold, what you expect to unfold.
And so the movie’s trying really hard to make it a mystery, but it’s following the same. Result that you always get. So I was trying to look at it like I was trying to watch this movie, like, what if I didn’t know the Dracula story and I was seeing this movie for the first time, how well constructed is the story?
How are the beats, how are the reveals like as a mystery, as a, these guys trying to figure out what’s happening. And I just tried to put myself in that frame of mind when I watched it, but you’re absolutely right. I mean, nobody, I think who right now, It’s familiar with the story is going to be very interested in this.
And even the Dracula story, I will again say, I still think the Dracula story itself is rather boring. The novel is rather boring. I was also disappointed by the novel. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but, you know, I mean, it’s obviously had some resonance for a very long time. It is kind of at its core.
It’s a scary concept, right? This creature, this person who’s was a person wants, but presumably, but is now just a shell of that. And almost unrecognizable clearly doesn’t like the torment that they’ve been confined to for the rest of their lives as an immortal creature. Just sort of like, just to live, actually, I think it was Christopher Lee who felt this way about the novel and was like trying to imbue this in the character of the movie.
This guy, like he’s got some humanity there, but it’s long gone. You know, there may be glimmers of it, but right now, like he doesn’t care. Like he just doesn’t even want to be living anymore. He’s just going through the motions of, of life, but he’s not happy about it at all. And, and there’s some distance there, you know, there’s some, I think maybe some of that is.
Makes it a little hard to get behind him as anything other than just this monster that goes out and gets people. Right. Um, you can have sympathy in the idea of what he has become, but now here’s who he is. And so you watch this character on the screen and it just seems rather. I don’t. Does that make sense?
Yeah, it does
Craig: make sense. And you know, I think that Dracula as written by Bram Stoker, you know, I think that there, and I’m, I’m not in any way, like formally educated about this kind of stuff. So don’t cite me in your research paper or anything, but like there, there has been lore of vampiric creature.
Forever. Um, but I think that kind of the way that in pop culture we’ve defined vampires is very much based on Dracula and, um, the, the sensual and seductive. Nature of vampires, I think comes largely from this. Um, it is, uh, you know, Dracula while obviously a threat. I mean, he’s, he’s, he’s gonna kill you and, or potentially turn you into this, you know, undead creature that has to feed on human blood.
So there’s definitely that, that dark, um, You know, a cult kind of, uh, element to it, but he’s also like a Mac, you know, like
Todd: all women’s
Craig: smooth, all women’s swim moon, you know, they are, they are more than happy to surrender themselves. Um, even in this movie, you know, The one woman, Mina is a married woman who immediately succumbs to the seduction and hides it from her husband and, and, uh, everybody else initially until she’s found out.
But it is, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s clearly there there’s a sexual element to it. And I almost feel like in the 1950s, this was a way. To get away with some overt sexuality without making it too graphically sexual. Like I know that at one point, uh, the woman who plays, I don’t remember if it was the woman who plays Lucy or Mina, but, um, the, the director after her encounter with Dracula, she was.
Sure of how she should behave in the aftermath. It was Mina and the director said, just act like you’ve just had the best sex of your entire life. And it lasted all night long.
And. Ah, that’s appealing.
So, so there are elements of it that the elements are there. It’s just in sitting down and watching the whole thing as you well know, I am not drunk. To film from this era and by nature, just because of the dynamics of cinema at the time, it was pushing the envelope, I think for the time. But, but, but compared to what we’re used to, and you could show this to a kindergarten class, that’s an exaggeration.
There, there is some violence in blood and gore a little bit, but it’s, it’s very, very mild.
Todd: And what isn’t mild, what is sort of sexual is going to go right over their heads, right? It’s it’s not, it’s not that graphic. I mean, I’m happy with what we’re doing. I really have no interest in going beat by beat through this movie.
I don’t know if you do it. It’s basically the Dracula story. So that’s why I’m so happy to skip around. But when you bring up the sexuality, like the women in this movie are gorgeous as is typical for the time. You know, they have that certain makeup, they have that certain sort of bombshell style starlet, starlet.
Yeah. And they’re wearing a. Again, nowadays, we wouldn’t think these are racy type outfits, but I would say about half the time, if not, most of the time Lucy is in her night clothes and they’re flowy and her boobs are perky, you know, and she’s got a beautiful hairstyle and makeup and everything like that.
And I mean that doesn’t even go unnoticed by, you know, 40 something year old Todd today. But that scene where, you know, she opens. It’s kind of cute. I mean, we all know the story, but like, you know, they, that Lucy’s is feeling a little sick and they’re not sure what’s wrong with her van Helsing leaves or, or the doctor leaves or whatever.
And they close the door and in it’s nighttime and she’s going to bed and instantly she gets up and she opens the window, which are basically the doors to her room to let Dracula in. And she just goes, and she opens the window. She’s super excited. She’s got that hungry look on her face, you know, and she goes, and she just, she lays down in bed.
Here. I am come take me. Oh, right. And that totally communicates. Even in 2022, I thought that was pretty hot.
Craig: Sure. I mean, and it’s so old Hollywood, you know, her hair, you know, her friend out on the pillow at one arm above her head, you know, like yeah. Lab,
Todd: but also the look on her face is just. You know, it’s like, she’s waiting for her Tinder date.
Like she just knows what to expect. And I, I mean, it’s, it’s nice. I have to say I liked that bit of this. Um, and, and, you know, I think that Bela Lugosi loved to brag and talk about how the vampire it is sexy and I’m a sexy vampire, but I don’t get that from the universal Dracula. You know what I mean? I don’t really buy that.
He’s that sexy, even for his time. I haven’t
Craig: seen it. I haven’t seen it either. And I, for a second, when you were talking about it, I was mixing it up with Nosferatu, which is a completely different thing, which
Todd: is more scary than this movie, honestly, I think, well, he’s just
Craig: more monstrous. Yeah. Like, yeah.
He’s clearly a monster. I mean, this Christopher Lee, you know, not my type, but I mean, he’s striking, like he is a very, he’s very tall, super tall. He a very striking face. He has a very commanding presence. And so I’m not surprised that he plays. Dracula as often as he did, in addition to all of his other iconic roles of which there are many, um, I understand why he, he has an amazing presence as a man, as an actor, um, Peter Cushing to, you know, uh, an excellent presence, but he, these two guys, they, they, they make excellent foils for each other.
I think Peter Cushing is, is more every man, um, And, uh, so it, it makes sense for him to be the good guy now, something that I didn’t, I don’t remember. I don’t remember the novel well enough, but Jonathan Harker is, is a major. Character in the book. If I remember correctly and he gets off to right away in
Todd: this, he’s also comes.
I mean, there’s kind of a bit of a twist, kind of a reveal. He comes to the castle Dracula as Dracula’s like a, he he’s hired him to come and catalog all his books in his library. Is there anything else you require Mr. DACA? No, I didn’t think so. You have benefited kind on the concentrated. It doesn’t tie my proven.
I consider myself fortunate to, uh, find such a distinguished scholar to act as my librarian. I like quiet and seclusion this house, I think offers that the may best satisfied and admirable.
Craig: Yeah, but it’s a ruse, right? Isn’t there a van Helsing has sent him. They’re like they, they know do Dracula is. Yeah.
But then, uh, there, there’s only one bride she’s not even referred to in the credits as bride. She’s just a vampire woman, but. In the original story and in most iterations, uh, Dracula has three brides, but there’s only one here. And you know, she’s a beautiful woman too. Um, and she’s right in the very beginning, but she takes out Jonathan right away and turns him into a vampire.
And then van Helsing has to come and kill him. And then the.
Todd: Yeah, I, yeah, I really liked this about the movie though. I thought that more like this was kind of a cool fake-out again, I was trying to look at it with fresh eyes. And so I was trying to put everything I know about Dracula side and watch it.
And I liked the idea that we know that he’s in peril and we know this women at women. And, but he seems kind of drawn to her and he’s very kind and everything to Dracula. It’s the same deal he shows up. Right. And Dracula says, I’m sorry, I can’t, you know, he’s just, there’s a note. I’m sorry. I can’t be with you.
Enjoy this food, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The woman comes up to him. I’m the new librarian you will
see. You will please. How can I help you get me away from here? Why he’s keeping me prisoner, who is Dracula? I’m afraid. I don’t understand. Please, please help me to escape. And she has to run away because Dracula Mino makes his appearance. And though, I’m sorry, you know, blah, blah, blah, let me take you to your room.
And then he locks him in the. Which is kind of terrifying. And then he sits down to unpack his things and he writes, starts writing in his diary. So we get a voiceover and I mean, you’re thinking this whole time, well, he’s the victim, right? He’s going to be a victim here, all these things, he doesn’t understand what’s going on.
And then in his diary, he writes, he accepts me as a man who was agreed to work among his books. As I intended.
It only remains for me now to await the daylight hours
with God’s help. I will forever. And this man’s rain of.
And you realize, oh, he knows exactly what he’s jumping into. He’s not an idiot. He’s here to actually take care of business. And I thought that was a nice twist. I don’t remember that for many of the other movies taking that tact. And I don’t think the novel has him coming in. No.
Craig: No, I don’t think so either.
I don’t think so. I don’t remember what his errand is there, but I think that he slowly figures out what’s going on. He doesn’t already know going in. And I was just, I was surprised because. Familiar with the story. I expected him to be the protagonist. And so I was so, you know, here I am, every time, every time I do this, I, I, I’m sitting in front of two computers.
I’ve got the one that I’m watching the movie on. I’ve got one on the other side of me with, you know, I am DB open. I’m looking at the cast and I see the. The guy who plays Jonathan, John van Eisen is billed below like six or seven other people. I’m like, well, that’s weird. And like I thought, I, I get why Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee get top billing.
That, that makes sense to me. But I thought it was weird that he was listed so low. And then. He gets killed off right away.
Craig: but yeah, I mean, I, if, if I remember correctly in the, in the source material, it’s he has a romantic relationship with one of those women. I think that he is, uh, engaged to MENA. Like, I don’t know.
Todd: I honestly, yeah, you’re right. It’s something like. High school was a really
Craig: long time ago. I really, yeah, I really don’t remember, but I don’t remember this, a character of Arthur Homewood at all.
I liked that he was played by Michael go, I think G O U G H for me, kind of the definitive Alfred from, uh, Timmermans Batman movies. Um, and, uh, you know, Cool to see him. Usually he doesn’t really have a whole lot to do. I mean, that’s kind of the thing. There’s not a whole lot of plotting, you know, the, you know, Dracula kills Jonathan, but Jonathan had already killed his bride.
So, so Dracula comes after, um, Jonathan had a photograph of Mina, I think it was Mina.
Todd: Or was it Lucy? Lucy who he was engaged to? Yes. Okay. He had a
Craig: photograph of Lucy who he was engaged to in Dracula, had taken interest in it right away. And when van Helsing comes to look for Jonathan and finds him dead well, a vampire and has to stake him, he also notices that that photograph of Lucy has gone.
And then. Dracula comes for Lucy, I guess, because he was, she was connected to Jonathan and Jonathan stole his bride. So now he’s gonna claim Lucy, um, as, as his new bride, which he does, but then she turns into a vampire, starts prowling around and she lures. Her niece or I
Todd: don’t know, a little girl that lives in their house.
Yeah. It’s the daughter of the, of Gerta the, the main house. Okay. So
Craig: she lures her, her out and then, um, I still don’t get it. R Arthur and me, they all have the same last name. There’s Arthur Mina home.
Todd: Arthur and Mina are, are, are married. And, um, Lucy has Arthur sister. Okay. All right.
Craig: So he finds Lucy messing with this little girl, I mean, before she bites her or anything, and then she gets scared away.
Does, does, uh, And he burns her with a cross, like on her forehead or something. Right. And so she runs off to her tomb and then they have to kill her, you know, like, and that the, the staking of Lucy is, um, I don’t know, iconics, not the right word, but it’s very classic staking her right in the heart and her screaming at being staked.
And there’s some blood, there’s some blood. I liked that part that. With
Todd: well, it’s more like the idea of everything more than the actual presentation of it is more terrifying, right? This poor Arthur, you know, his sister he’s reluctant to stake her. Like even though all the evidence is there, even though he’s seen, she’s come back to life, all this stuff, van Helsing is like, no.
We can use her to, I’m sorry. He’s not reluctant to Staker. He’s reluctant to, to let her live as a creature anymore because van Helsinki’s idea is, look, we can use her to lure Dracula, right. Or
Craig: sh or she can, she can lead us to him.
Todd: Hm. And so we can finally take care of this guy and he’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no.
I can’t let her live as a creature like this anymore. And so he leaves it to van Helsing to stake her, which you know, is very upsetting to him. But then when Dracula then, okay. Gone. So now, what does he do? He turns to Mina Arthur’s wife and seduces her while they’re still looking for Dracula they’re out and about on their errands.
Um, one of the places they go, um, because, because they kept all this in Germany and I think they, I read, they did it for budgetary reasons. So it wasn’t have to be like, you know, the boat trip and different locations and things like that. They kept it on. So when van Helsing went to castle, Dracula looking for Harker, one of the first things he saw was a horse galloping at full speed out of there with Dracula’s coffin in it.
So drag who was on his way out that then Helsing saw that he left. So van Helsing knows that that coffin, you know, took a trip. And so he talks to, you know, they, they go on their little investigation, like, well, they would have to have crossed the border here, which means that they would have had to pass through this border crossing, which means that there would be a record of that car.
Which we can check and see where it went to. So then they go to this border crossing place and they find that it’s like sort of the little comic relief bit. I think of the movie where there’s this goofy border crossing guy who is being silly and whatnot. And, uh, they bribe him and eventually he tells them that, you know, he went to this in this place while they’re out doing all this investigation is when, um, Dracula’s seducing Mina.
Craig: Yeah. He sends her a. And it’s, it’s a lie. I mean, it’s purportedly from her husband, but it’s not it’s him. Me here. Yeah. To this particular address. And as it turns out, it’s the same address that they get for where Dracula’s coffin
Todd: sadly too late. Right. It’s it’s, it’s a mortician’s place or whatever, right.
A funeral home and the director of the funeral home, which. Which unfortunately, um, they in-housing and Arthur only visit like a day late a day late basically after Mina was there. This guy is another goofy dude and he tells some joke when they’re walking down the steps, perhaps you better let me lead the way I know these steps, they can be dangerous.
We don’t want to have an action to do it slowly. You know, an old man, he gave me a lens to seize. Did the pocket me fell down the stairs.
And he happens to be the same actor as was in dead of night playing that, that guy who was the hearse driver who says room for one more, sir. Oh, oh, that’s funny. So he plays like a mortician in both of these. It’s kind of cool. That’s right. Oh,
Craig: that’s funny. Um, I did feel like there were moments and they were few and far between, but there were moments where they were kind of going for comedy.
And again, I think that it’s just a generational divide. Like I was just like, ha ha like not funny. Um, but when, uh, so I don’t know. The next time they see MENA the. Housekeeper comes downstairs and she’s like, oh, she wasn’t in her room. She went out the night before. I assume she came back, but she’s not back.
Well, then she shows up immediately. And of course she’s glowing too, like, right. She looks like she looks like she just got it. Good. But, but she’s so she’s so obviously wearing this high collared, like firma, like, you know, like she’s hiding, he’s hiding. Yeah. She’s hiding it. Yeah.
Todd: It’s funny. It’s cute. But also you’re right.
Her glow is unmistakable. Again, it’s this dirty kind of adultery thing, like this bored housewife kind of thing, right? Like, like Arthur’s clearly a pretty boring, straightforward guy and they’ve clearly been together a while and she’s just not getting it, but she has this little affair with Dracula and now she just like, had changed woman in more ways than one.
And you see it on her face and that, and the Lucy thing I thought read, I think still read really well today. Really do. It was pretty sexy. It’s true.
Craig: It’s true. And they are very beautiful women. And so to see them, you know, playing up kind of that sultry nature of it, like, yeah, that’s good. But they figure out right away that she’s a vampire.
One of them tries to give her a cross for protection, but when he hands it to her, drops it in her hand, she screams and faints and they look and it’s, it’s burning. Across into her hand. So they know that she’s a vampire now. And something that I thought was kind of funny was that Arthur, at that point, like, darn it.
I should’ve let you use Lucy. I’m so stupid. And then he’s basically over it, like his sister. And in a matter of a couple of days, both of us, both his sister and his wife have been. Killed by this vampire. And he, he kind of just takes it in stride.
Todd: Well, he’s no longer reluctant, like there, he’s willing now to use her.
Right. He wasn’t willing to lose use Lucy as bait because the idea was so horrible. The net now that he’s seen has happened again to his wife, then now these willing to you, you know, he’s come to his senses. He’s like, all right. And so, you know, they sit outside and wait, they’re looking for Dracula. They think he’s going to come in through the window or something.
So they’re camping out, outside in the bushes, waiting for him. And somehow Dracula appears in the freaking house. And gets her and all they hear is, you know, they walk inside, there’s a scream. They see that she’s. I attacked again. And they’re like, how in the hell did he get in the house? She’s kind of on death’s door.
And they, they, he says to the housekeeper, please go get some, get some wine. She, we need some wine, blah, blah, blah. They do a blood transfusions. That’s right.
Craig: Fusion. I love it. By the way, with no explanation, like you just see them doing it like, oh, this is how you fix it. If somebody turns into a
Todd: vampire, it’s a full on scene.
I mean, it’s kind of unnecessary, right? Like we didn’t need to see so much of it, but it’s the whole thing. Like, they’re both connected by these tubes. Van Helsing goes over. He goes through this whole rigmarole, like actually probably pretty accurate of like, you know, the, the housekeepers got the, the alcohol there and he uses his hand to swab it and like pulls the needle out and pats him down and checks it.
It’s okay. All right. Then he goes over to her. He does the exact same thing to her. It’s like a five or six minute long scene. That is nothing more. It, it doesn’t really advance the plot. It’s nothing more than just showing that they did a blood transfusion and he was medically accurate right. Through all of it.
He knows what he’s doing
Craig: and you never see her again. Like I assume she’s just okay. Because right. The van Helsing is like, okay, The guy you need to drink a lot of fluids, water or coffee, or, oh, better yet wine drink a lot of wine. And so somebody tells the housekeeper to go down in the basement and she’s like, oh no, I’m not going down there.
The last time I disobeyed the mistress’s orders or you’re something like
Todd: it was earlier. Like she was the one, um, van Helsing when he investigated Lucy. Um, you know, he saw the marks on her neck and he told Mina, he S he said, look, you just need to follow my instructions. If you want her to live, you gotta put this garlic flowers around there.
You got to keep the windows closed, all that stuff. And so then she communicates that to the maid, of course, but Lucy, of course, when she wakes up in the middle of the night is disturbed by all the garlic and. The maiden there and the maids, like, okay, fine. I’ll take away the flowers. Oh, can you open the window?
I’m not supposed to, you know, open the window. Oh. But, but it’s stifling. Oh, okay. I’ll open the window for you. So she’s feeling guilty that she basically caused the Lucy’s demise by disobeying Mina’s orders. So this time around, she’s not going to do it. Mina told her not to go into the seller under any circumstances, so she’s not going to do it.
And van Helsing, like. Yeah. So he immediately runs to the seller and of course there’s a coffin down there. So Dracula’s coffin has been in the house the entire time. Yeah. And admitted. He finds the empty coffin. He looks up the door, opens the Dracula, just pops in and snarls, like he’s trying to turned to his coffin cause he’s gotta be in his coffin with the earth.
Right. Bye. Bye. But a van Helsing is down there and that’s what leads into our big chase. Our big chase sequence. Actually, I really liked that bit too. I thought it was like this sudden revelation and suddenly things got exciting again. And you know, it’s like this whole deal. And so he’s chasing him around the, the place and up across the back to his castle.
Craig: Cause he takes Dracula, takes Meena. In a horse-drawn carriage, I guess all, all of the horse drawn carriages in this movie are like authentic to. You know, time period. Some guy had like a whole collection of them and they use them, whatever that looks cool, but he takes Dracula, takes Mina and is headed back to his place.
And so the men are in pursuit and then there’s a gag where Dracula like runs. Horse cart through like a roadblock and the guy at the roadblock is like, darn you. And then he’s just fixed it. When the other two guys come through and run through it and bust it all up again, too. Like. It’s just so weird to just throw in this a little bit of slapstick comedy here and there.
Uh, and, and, and especially here, I mean, this is the climax of, uh, the movie and it, it really just, I don’t know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t take long. So. Slows things down, but it’s kind of a break in the dramatic tension. Um, and I don’t even really know what Dracula’s end game is here because he gets back to his house and he throws Mina in a grave.
Like just her she’s conscious. He just throws her whole body into a grave and starts
Todd: to barrier. He’s trying to hide her from them, I think. But, but she’s, he’s essentially burying her alive. Isn’t he? Yeah.
Craig: I, I maybe that’s the thing they do. I don’t know. But van Helsing chases him inside. And they fight and there’s a little bit of a fight.
It doesn’t go on for very long at
Todd: all. I mean, what could he do really?
Craig: Yeah, I get, and there’s no talk, there’s no dialogue. There’s like no witty villain banter or anything like that. Van Helsing pulls down the curtains and the sun has come up. So the sun streams in, and then arguably, this was my favorite part of the movie because, um, there’s some really cool effects where starting with his hands, which are the first thing that gets touched by the sunlight.
He just starts to disseminate. Like, uh, almost like dry out and, and his, his flesh becomes papery and, and kind of dusty, dusty and kind of peels and flakes away. Um, and then eventually it, the sun falls on his entire body and all of that happens. And I read about. How they did some of it, they put like, um, coroner’s wax or something on Christopher Lee’s face and kind of peeled it away.
I don’t remember it. It sounded very technical and cool. And it looks, I mean, it looks old. It, you know, it, it doesn’t look real. It looks like old effects, but they’re practical. And, uh, it definitely gets the point across. And I liked the look of it. But then if I remember correctly, like my, my notes just end in fact, it looks like I started to type something and just stopped.
I don’t even know. Like, that’s it right? Like it’s just over.
Todd: Yeah. Yeah. It just it’s like a, the, the, the final scene is like the it’s, like his hand is the last little bit remaining and it’s just kind of dust and blows away and just leaves the ring that was on his finger right there. Uh, this was the scene when I was a kid that struck with me.
I can see why it’s definitely the most exciting scene in the movie. Right. It’s definitely the most effect. Yeah. I mean, it’s a cool little sequence. It doesn’t, it’s not going to blow anybody away by modern standards, you know, but, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s gory for its time. Not does not bloody, but it’s, you know, It’s grown sick graphic.
Yeah, exactly. I, I, you know, I, I thought that was fitting in kind of cool. Like it could have just, you know, the light comes on him and he, he just completely disintegrated, but it’s like, no, like his hand is in there and then like, he’s trying to come out and fight with one hand and, you know, then he kind of gets pushed back into it.
It’s cool. It’s a neat sequence.
Craig: Yeah. Black ULA ends in much the same way. I mean, it’s, it’s about 20 years later. And so the effect. About 20 years better. It’s pretty much the same ending. They get him in the light and he disintegrates and the end. Yeah. I mean, I get it. I understand that it is, you know, considered.
Classic as much as any hammer films are. And I don’t mean that with any disrespect, I feel like the hammer films, their purpose was, um, to entertain, you know, these are not necessarily high art. These are, um, matinee flicks, uh, Targeted at a specific audience. And, um, I think that probably at the time, I can understand why it was very successful, probably, especially with young people would be my guests.
Um, uh, it just, so for that reason, as I’ve said a bazillion times, I’m, I’m, I’m happy to have seen it. You know, it’s in my lexicon. Now I can talk about it. Uh, it didn’t, I mean, it didn’t do anything for me. I was, I was glad when it was over.
Todd: I mean, I think this is something that like a family with mixed ages probably all kind of enjoy for different reasons personally, but I don’t think you’re right.
I don’t think by modern standards, it’s going to blow away anybody, but it’s sort of like if you examine. In the time that it was done. You’re right. You can see how it was a bit groundbreaking. Even the castle Parker in the beginning opens the door as castle and walks in. And it’s kind of been modernized.
I mean, it’s still a castle, but the walls are not like. Dusty with tapestries everywhere. You know, like the universal Dracula’s like a cobweb, you know, it gives his castles like an old cobwebby, you know, brick kind of cold looking place. Like this looks like HUD. Once he walks in there, it’s almost like a modern mansion that like a repurposed castle.
I thought that was kind of cool. Like it actually had these sort of sixties type vibes to it, you know? Modernized it a little bit, the blood and the gore, which you didn’t see in the previous adaptations that modernize it a little bit. You know, Christopher Lee jumps out one of his first appearances as Dracula is a close-up on his face.
He’s got these huge
Craig: fangs and that is iconic. I have seen that image. Everywhere. You know, I I’ve seen that image on t-shirts and you know, he’s got the fangs, which I guess was fairly new to vampire films. Like they hadn’t had the eye there. I read trivia that said some people claim that this is the first film that used the elongated films.
When actually that’s not really true, but it was one of the first ones. And he does, he has these a long game. Uh, canines or whatever they are and you know, the blood on his lips and on his teeth. And of course it’s that technical or bright red blood. And, um, he’s wearing, um, contacts that make his eyes look.
Other worldly, that image is, is fantastic.
Todd: It is. And I think that’s another thing. Modern vampire movies. That’s the thing that freaks me out the most, the eyes, you know, modern vampire movies, always playing around with the eyes a little bit that they’ll give them hugely dilated pupils or like in the lost boys, they have those sort of like silvery gray eyes with the big pupils or what.
That that’s what really starts to get creepy more than the fangs, I think. And I think this was the first movie to say, to do that. And he, his eyes, they just look yellow and bloodshot and crazy. It was more overt for the time on the sexual stuff, you know, in the same regard with the gore, there’s more blood.
But not nearly as much blood as you get an a vampire movie today, certainly tame, but also, I just I’ve seen a lot of, of the subsequent films and, uh, I don’t remember any of them cause they all run together. But like I said, there were like seven of them. We watched, I think it was their last Dracula movie, right?
Craig: seven. Oh, yeah, we did watch that one. What was it?
Todd: The samurais samurai that Dracula and the seven golden vampires, the seven golden vampires and something like that, which was their mashup with the Chinese one. That was interesting. I mean, Christopher Lee isn’t even in it anymore because he was done, but Peter Cushing is in it.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there were seven other movies, I think, uh, the Dracula movies, but this, this duo of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, it extended through most of the Dracula movies, but also into a lot of other movies. There were 24 movies that these two were starred together in like, I love these two guys and for what it’s worth, I think that Christopher Lee in this.
I I’m not going to say he was the best Dracula ever. He’s the Dracula that just based on my circumstance and my childhood is most burned in my memory and made the deepest impression just because he was probably the most prevalent, the one I could see the most, but also he is pretty good. He’s super. And he has this strength in the movie.
He’s just lifting these people up. Like they’re nothing, he comes out and he is very menacing in that, in those fangs and those eyes and all that stuff. And he’s got that deep resonant voice. And I think the first thing that I noticed as an adult, as I’m analyzing this is that he’s very detached. Like, you know, like disinterested, right.
He’s not witty and clever and things. He’s just very business-like and almost not even there. Yeah. And I think. Uh, conscious choice.
Craig: Yeah. And I don’t remember the novel. I, I, I remember the, the Gary Oldman movie and in that Dracula was very much a character. Like he definitely had personality and motivation and yes, he was.
Seductive. And this may just have been the adaptation. I don’t remember how much of it is faithful to the book, but like he seemed to long. For these women, it was more than just blood lust. It was, uh, there was something more to it and, and, you know, he, he had dialogue and, and interaction with, um, the characters, which is lacking here.
Todd: I mean, it’s even in the play, Dracula, barely
Craig: talks at all. And the only stuff that he does is like business, like, oh, like, uh, here’s your bedroom. Uh, help yourself to some food. Like it’s not, it’s not anything substantial. Uh, and I, and I miss that. I, I would prefer a more character driven retelling, but it is what it is.
It’s a classic monster movie and that’s fine for what.
Todd: Well, I think this was a very clear choice that he made and he spoke about it. He, he was like, this is a guy whose humanity is long gone. He’s just going through the motions of life right now. And that’s his tragedy. And so he chose to play Dracula that way.
And for what it’s worth, I think the Dracula of the hammer horror films was just a monster, you know, like that fair enough. So, you know, it’s, it’s a different take on Dracula, but as. It’s I think it’s effective, but you’re right. I I’m totally with you. It’s not as interesting, especially now when we expect a little more depth out of our villains right.
In, in all genres. So, um, we, we want to be able to relate to them more. We want to see them as tragic figures and in this, it’s very hard to see him in any other way. Right. Right. And then just a guy who’s going around biting people. Hmm. All right. Well, thank you again for listening to our show. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend.
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