Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Horror of Dracula (1958)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Horror of Dracula (1958, UK) (aka Dracula)

In talented director Terence Fisher's classic Technicolored Dracula horror film - the first of the UK's Hammer Studios' horror films about Dracula for the next two decades - set in the late 1880s, it was a superb, Gothic, blood-drenched tale of the cat-and-mouse game between Count Dracula (Christopher Lee in his first appearance as Dracula or the Prince of Darkness) and his arch nemesis Dr. Van Helsing:

  • after the title credits, the camera descended into a castle's cellar where it located a vault-crypt bearing the label: "DRACULA"; after a forward tracking shot, the label was covered with dripping blood from above
  • an opening voice-over narration was heard as a red book was opened: "The Diary of Jonathan Harker. Third of May, 1885. At last, my long journey is drawing to its close. What the eventual end will be, I cannot foresee. But whatever may happen, I can rest secure that I will have done all in my power to achieve success. The last lap of my journey from the village of Klausenberg proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated due to the reluctance on the part of the coach driver to take me all the way. As there was no other transport available, I was forced to travel the last few kilometers on foot before arriving at Castle Dracula. The castle appeared innocuous enough in the warm sun, and all seemed normal but for one thing: There were no birds singing. As I crossed the wooden bridge, and entered the gateway, it suddenly seemed to become much colder, due, no doubt, to the icy waters of the mountain torrent I had just crossed. However, I deemed myself lucky to have secured this post and did not intend to falter in my purpose"
  • young and naive Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) arrived at Castle Dracula (where he planned to pose as a residential librarian but instead was intent on destroying Dracula); he was first greeted by a buxom female (Valerie Gaunt, credited as Vampire Woman), who inexplicably asked Harker to help her escape; she then rushed off with the sudden appearance of the dashing yet reclusive, blood-sucking and predatory Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) at the top of the stairs;
  • Dracula greeted Harker once he descended and was pictured in a full-closeup: ("I am Dracula. And I welcome you to my house"); Dracula showed Harker to his prepared bedroom (where his door was locked from the outside)
Count Dracula's Entrance and Greeting to Harker
  • Harker's diary continued, where he wrote the words (in voice-over): "At last, I have met Count Dracula. He accepts me as a man who has agreed to work among his books, as I intended. It only remains for me now to await the daylight hours when, with God's help, I will forever end this man's reign of terror"
  • slightly later, Harker was again approached by the Vampire Woman desperately begging him to take her away from her imprisonment by the evil Dracula: "Is it not reason enough that he keeps me locked up in this house, holds me against my will? You can have no idea what an evil man he is! Or what terrible things he does! I could not. I dare not try to leave on my own. He would find me again, I know. But with you to help me, I would have a chance. You must help me! You must! You're my only hope! You must!" - but then as she unexpectedly bit at Harker's neck, Dracula made a sudden entrance into the room, with blood dripping from his fangs and blood-shot eyes; he ran across the top of a table, tossed her away onto the floor, fought off Harker by squeezing his neck, and then carried the vampirish female away

Vampire Woman (Valeria Gaunt) Begging Harker to Be Saved

Vampire Woman Biting Harker's Neck

Dracula with Bloody Fangs

  • later, Harker used a mirror to inspect his neck - and found two prominent bite marks; Harker mused: "I have become a victim of Dracula and the woman in his power. It may be that I am doomed to be one of them. If that is so, I can only pray that whoever finds my body will possess the knowledge to do what is necessary to release my soul"
  • Harker located the coffin of the Vampire Woman, and pounded a wooden stake into her heart (seen in dark silhouette on the wall) - the release of her soul as she screamed awakened Dracula from his sleep; the Count appeared at the door of the crypt, and as he shut the door behind him and stood above the trapped Harker, the scene ended in darkness
  • after Harker's demise (when he became another 'undead' vampire), Count Dracula took an inordinate interest in Harker's fiancee Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh), the sister of Arthur Holmwood (Michael Gough) who was married to Mina Holmwood (Melissa Stribling); in Karlstadt, the helpless Lucy was suffering from anemia - she had become Dracula's next victim (she both anticipated and feared his arrival into her bedroom to take her blood, by opening her window and removing the crucifix around her neck)
  • in the drinking of blood scene, Dracula approached toward Mina and seductively sucked blood from her neck
  • Dracula's arch nemesis - obsessed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), suddenly understood and realized where Dracula had been hiding; after Arthur asked maid Gerda (Olga Dickie) to retrieve wine from the cellar of the Holmwood home ("Gerta, will you fetch another bottle?"), she expressed extreme fear: "Oh, sir, I don't like to. You know what happened last time when I disobeyed Mrs. Holmwood's orders...Madam told me the other day that, I must on no account, go down to the cellar" - after a pregnant pause, Van Helsing rushed to the cellar where he discovered Dracula's empty, earth-filled coffin where he had been sleeping during the day; Van Helsing placed a crucifix in the coffin, then chased after Dracula, who was in the process of kidnapping Mina from her bed
  • Dracula took Mina to his castle as the maid exclaimed: "He looked like the devil!...He came in here and picked Madam up like she was a baby!"
  • in the gripping and memorable finale - a battle erupted between the forces of Darkness and Light - a struggle occurred between Van Helsing and Dracula who fought throughout the Count's castle; Van Helsing was able to weaken Dracula by running across two elongated table-tops, leaping into the air and ripping down full-length library curtains to let in sunlight - and then he crossed two candlesticks into the shape of a crucifix to force Dracula backwards, causing him to disintegrate in the rays of the sun (mostly off-camera) - his ashes were then blown away in the wind
Dracula vs. Van Helsing - A Fight to the Death

Battling Each Other

Van Helsing After Glancing at Heavy Drapes

Van Helsing Racing Over Two Table Tops to Window to Rip Down Drapes

Dracula Pained by Sunlight

Crossed Candlestick Holders Served as Crucifix

Dracula's Reaction to Cross

More Pain From the Crucifix

Dracula's Final Death Throes

Dracula's Disintegrating Demise

Dracula's Coffin-Vault

Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) Inspecting Two Fang Bite Marks on His Neck From the Vampire Woman

Harker Staking the Vampire Woman (Valeria Gaunt)

Harker's Fiancee Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh) - Lured Dracula to Her Side

Dracula's Blood-Sucking of Mina

Dracula's Arch-Nemesis Vampire Hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing)


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