version of the novel by Bram Stoker with some modifications: Fishers
Jonathan Harker is a vampire expert who knows just to well that
the count is quite dangerous. As a pretend harmless librarian he
plans to make an end to Draculas misdeeds. The count, quite friendly
in the beginning, is clever enough to see through this and after
Harker has impaled one of the undead's brides, he takes revenge:
After Jonathan Harkers death another opponent appears on the scene:
the well-known Dr. van Helsing. It's him who has to bring Harkers
fiancée, Lucy, the message of his death, but also in this
case, the blood-thirsty Nobleman was faster: for Lucy all help comes
to late, she becomes a vampire, Van Helsing an impaler.
Dracula turns towards Mina, Lucy's sister-in-law. The worst can
be hindered by means of a blood transfusion, but the undead managed
to kidnap Mina. After a breakneck hunt, van Helsing and Dracula
find each other face to face in the Count's Castle. After a final
fight van Helsing disintegrates Dracula into dust with the help
of the sunlight and a crucifix (well-done for the year 1958) and
Mina is saved.
Fischer's interpretation of Stokers novel from 1958 is the first
modern movie version, it marks the begin of a new epoch, not only
for Vampire movies, but for the horror genre in general, the turn
away from the old Universal Movies, where a great part of the Horror
only takes place in the spectators heads and towards the era of
the Hammer productions, with a completely different approach to
visualize the horror.
the most legendary movie of the vampire genre it produced the two
greatest stars of modern horror movie, which since then have been
inevitably linked to this saga: Peter Cushing as Dr. van Helsing
and, even more so, Christopher Lee as Count Dracula. Later Dracula-performers,
even some brilliant ones like Frank Langella or Gary Oldman, couldn't
interprets the count completely differently to Lugosi. Here, we
are dealing with a charming, intelligent and at the same time very
cruel seducer who comes up to Stokers model. Furthermore Fisher,
was the first to dispose of the technical (and financial) means
to translate the highlights of the novel adequately into a movie.
this movie we also find some significant modifications of the original
story: that sunlight can kill vampires is an element that script
author Sangster borrowed from Murnaus Nosferatu from 1922. But this
wasn't to prevent the good old count (and the Hammer production
company as well as Christopher Lee), to rise from his grave again
and again in a more or less original way (most of the time in a
quite stupid way) in the following 20 years and to die in an original
or stupid way at the end of each movie.
Well- the scripts became worse and worse, the movies more and more
brutal, none of them being able to reach the quality and the level
of the Original.
sum it up: Lees interpretation of the count could not be surpassed.
He was probably the most charismatic Dracula performer ever.