1958, Terence Fisher, 82 mins.
An evil vampire directs his attentions to a bourgeois family.
Bringing colour and sex to the vampire movie, Terence Fisher’s Dracula is a riveting horror film directed with immense economy and acted with visceral ferocity by the iconic, although surprisingly rarely used by Hammer, team of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Jimmy Sangster’s screenplay streamlines Bram Stoker’s novel - for budgetary reasons – but keeps the atmosphere and much of the horror while focusing on the sexual subtext which, according to Christopher Frayling, went largely unnoticed until this screen version. Numerous memorable images – none more so than Lee’s Count appearing in a doorway like a wild animal, fangs dripping with blood – and technical credits which typify the very best of Hammer; Jack Asher’s rich colour photography; James Needs’ pacy editing; Bernard Robinson’s lush production design; and Fisher’s direction which never puts a foot wrong in an incredibly fast-paced eighty two minutes.