The huge box office success of The Curse of Frankenstein led to the inevitable desire for a sequel in The Revenge of Frankenstein, and an attempt to give the Hammer treatment to another horror icon. Dracula had been a successful film character for Universal in the past, and the copyright situation was more complicated than for Frankenstein. A legal agreement between Hammer and Universal was not completed until March 31, 1958 – after the film had been shot – and was 80 pages long.

With a final budget of £81,412, Dracula began principal photography on November 11, 1957. Peter Cushing had top-billing, this time as Doctor Van Helsing, whilst Christopher Lee starred as Count Dracula, with direction by Terence Fisher.

Dracula was an enormous success, breaking box-office records in the UK, the United States (where it was released as Horror of Dracula), Canada, and across the world.

1960 saw the release of the first in a long line of sequels, The Brides of Dracula, with Cushing returning to the role of Van Helsing, though Lee did not play Dracula again until Dracula: Prince of Darkness, released in 1966.

Dracula (Horror of Dracula) (1958) The Brides of Dracula (1960) Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970) Scars of Dracula (1970)
Dracula AD 1972 (1972) The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

1958-Dracula DRACULA (US: Horror of Dracula)

The terrifying lover who died – yet lived!

Released May 8, 1958 (US); June 16, 1958 (UK)
Dracula is a British horror film based on Bram Stoker’s novel of the same name. The first in the series of Hammer Horror films, in the U.S. the film was retitled Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the earlier Dracula (1931) starring Bela Lugosi, and the film was released in the U.S. in 1958 on a double feature with the Universal film The Thing That Couldn’t Die.

Production began at Bray Studios on November 17, 1957 with an investment of £81,000. As Count Dracula, Lee fixed the image of the fanged vampire in popular culture.

Jonathan Harker takes employment with Count Dracula, ostensibly to catalogue his vast library. In fact, he is on a mission to kill the Count, a vampire. Before he can do so however, the Count gains the upper hand and Harker soon finds himself as one of the walking dead. Dracula has taken an interest in Harker’s fiancée, Lucy Holmwood and it is left to Harker’s colleague, Dr. Van Helsing to protect her. He has difficulty convincing Lucy’s brother, Arthur Holmwood, of the dangers or even the existence of vampires. Soon, however, Arthur’s wife Mina is targeted by Count Dracula and he and Van Helsing race to find his lair before she is lost to them forever. []

Notable Cast

Peter Cushing, Doctor Van Helsing

Christopher Lee, Count Dracula

Michael Gough, Arthur Holmwood

Melissa Stribling, Mina Holmwood

Charles Lloyd-Pack, Doctor Seward

Geoffrey Bayldon, Porter

1960-The-Brides-of-Dracula-poster THE BRIDES OF DRACULA

The most evil, blood-lusting Dracula of all!

Released July 7, 1960 (UK); September 5, 1960 (US)
The Brides of Dracula is a British horror film made by Hammer Film Productions and directed by Terence Fisher.

The film is a sequel to Hammer’s original Dracula (US: Horror of Dracula) (1958), though the vampires possess abilities denied to vampires in the previous film, much like those in the original novel. Dracula does not appear in the film (Christopher Lee would reprise his role in the 1966 film Dracula: Prince of Darkness) and is mentioned only twice, once in the prologue, once by Van Helsing.

Shooting began for The Brides of Dracula on January 16, 1960 at Bray Studios and was distributed theatrically on a double bill with The Leech Woman.

In Transylvania, the teacher Marianne Danielle is heading to a small village where she will teach French and etiquette for teenage girls. The stagecoach stops at a village and when Marianne is preparing to eat dinner, the coachman goes away and leaves her in the inn. Out of the blue, Baroness Meinster comes to the place and invites Marianne to spend the night in her castle, where she lives with her servant Greta. During the night, Marianne sees a man in a balcony and she learns that he is Baron Meinster, the insane son of the Baroness. Later Marianne believes that he will jump off the balcony and she goes to his room and finds that he is chained by his mother. Marianne decides to help him to escape and steals the key from the Baroness’ room. Then she leaves the castle and is found by Dr. J. Van Helsing, who has been invited by the local priest to treat a disease. Soon Van Helsing learns that Marianne has unleashed a vampire that is murdering the dwellers of the village. []

Notable Cast

Peter Cushing, Doctor Van Helsing

Martita Hunt, Baroness Meinster

Michael Ripper, the Coachman

1966-Draculaprinceofdarkness DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS

The world’s most evil vampire lives again!

Released January 9, 1966 (UK); January 12, 1966 (US)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness is a British horror film directed by Terence Fisher. The film was the third entry in Hammer‘s Dracula series, and the second to feature Christopher Lee as the titular vampire.

The English couples Helen Kent, her husband Alan Kent, his brother Charles Kent and his wife Diana Kent are travelling through the Carpathian Mountain on vacation expecting to climb the mountains. When they are eating in a tavern, they meet Father Sandor that advises them to not go to the castle in Carlsbad. However they ignore the warnings and take a mysterious carriage to the infamous castle. They are welcomed by Dracula’s creepy servant Klove that tells that his master died many years ago. Along the night, Helen overhears someone calling her and Alan sees Klove carrying a trunk through the corridor. Alan decides to snoop and follows Klove. However, the servant attacks him in the basement and uses his blood to revive Count Dracula from his ashes. Now the trio of English tourist will experience the presence of the evil creature in their lives. []

Notable Cast

Christopher Lee, Count Dracula

Barbara Shelley, Helen Kent

Andrew Keir, Father Sandor

Francis Matthews, Charles Kent

Charles Tingwell, Alan Kent

Thorley Walters, Ludwig

Philip Latham, Klove

Peter Cushing, Doctor Van Helsing (uncredited – archive footage)