Hammer followed up the success of The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) with a color remake of Dracula (1931), which was titled Horror of Dracula in the U.S.
The film reunited Curse stars Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee with that film’s director Terence Fisher. The title role is played by Lee, who would become the only actor to rival Lugosi with his interpretation of the Count.
Dracula is pursued by Dr. Van Helsing (Cushing), who has studied vampires for years. Van Helsing finds the body of a friend in the Count’s castle, which prompts him to pursues Dracula. After the Count converts a young woman (Carol Marsh), Van Helsing helps her brother (Michael Gough) protect his wife (Melissa Stribling) from the vampire.
Both Lee and Cushing’s superstardom in the horror field was assured with this movie, and their great work here is matched by the fabulous James Bernard musical score, which is particularly effective at the moment when Dracula makes his first appearance.
Like Curse, this film became noted for pushing the envelope in terms of onscreen violence. Also like that film, this movie’s success led to sequels, many of which had Lee reprising his role. This made him the actor who has played Dracula the most times.