Film, video and television productions based on the novel by Bram Stoker:
Originally Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (German)
Director F.W. Murnau; writer Henrik Galeen; featuring Max Shreck
English and Spanish versions of film. English: director Tod Browning; writers Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston,; variably featuring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan. Spanish: director George Melford; writ. Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, Baltasar Fernández Cué; featuring Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Pablo Álvarez Rubio
Three films variably featuring Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger, Edward Van Sloan, Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Paige, John Carradine, Onslow Stevens, Glenn Strange
Also called Dracula
Director Terence Fisher; writer Jimmy Sangster; featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough
Three films variably featuring Peter Cushing, David Peel, Yvonne Monlaur, Martita Hunt, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson
Director John Badham; writer Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, W.D. Richter; featuring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance, Kate Nelligan
Two films. 1979: director Stan Dragoti, featuring George Hamilton, Richard Benjamin. 1995: director Mel Brooks, featuring Leslie Neilsen, Steve Weber, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman
Also called Dracula
Director Francis Ford Coppola; writer Jame V. Hart; featuring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Tom Waits
Director E. Elias Merhige; writer Steven Katz; featuring John Malkovich, Willem Defoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes
Director Patrick Lussier; writer Joel Soission, Lussier; featuring Gerard Butler, Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Jeri Ryan
Maybe the brides of Dracula are upset because hubby is missing from this 1960 sequel.
All in Dracula's family
Despite the reception for his performance in Horror of Dracula, Christopher Lee turned down a chance to star in the immediate sequel, The Brides of Dracula (1960).
His presence is missed, but his absence also allows the film to go in a different direction. Cushing is back as Van Helsing, this time on the trail of a vampire known as Baron Meinster. Meinster is kept chained by his mother the Baroness to keep him from his evil deeds but sweet schoolteacher Marianne, visiting the old castle, sets him free. Following which he goes after her of course.
Visually it's a lusciously rich film and the plot is clever enough to take us on unforeseen twists, despite our knowing the inevitable ending.
David Peel is a vampire we haven't seen before. Rather than present the experienced nobility of Lugosi or Lee, he offers a spoiled, young narcissist—a harbinger of Draculas to come in later decades. (Oddly this was thirty-nine-year-old Peel's last substantial role as he retired from acting shortly after.)
The vampire's mother, played by Martita Hunt, is a deliciously decadent old aristocrat who protects her son from the world—and the world from her son. The "brides" of the title, by the way, play only a minor role in the film, acting merely as Meinster's minions.
The Lee-less Brides of Dracula is a modest success, but it isn't a real sequel to the first Hammer-made Dracula. For that we have to wait several more years
The master returns without a voice
The imposing actor is back some years later as the master vampire in the third instalment, Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966).
However, now we have Christopher Lee without Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. The nemesis role is taken up instead by stout Andrew Keir as Father Kandor.
Lee as resurrected Dracula
Prince of Darkness is not as good as Lee's first outing as the count. The film begins with a recap of Van Helsing's disposal of Dracula at the end of Horror of Dracula, reshowing the last several minutes of that film.
After that the prince of darkness doesn't return to the screen until halfway through. His recovery from certain destruction is logically unconvincing but makes for thrilling cinema.
But his vocal cords must not have been reconstituted because we never get to hear Lee's sonorous tones. (Actually the story is that Lee remains silent because he refused to utter the inane dialogue he was given).
We do however get to hear some rather yappy victims of the vampire: four travellers who, in classic horror form, decide to spend the night in the mysterious castle. One of them, who nearly steals the show from Lee is Barbara Shelley, who became known as Britain's scream queen for her horror histrionics. (Ironically, her screams in this film are said to have been dubbed by co-star Suzan Farmer.)
The film wraps up according to formula, albeit with a few creative twists. In the end a new way to kill a vampire is found.
Back again...and again...and again....
He's baaack and won't go awaaay
But you can't keep a good non-human down for long. In Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), an attempt is made to exorcise the spirit of Dracula (Lee again) from his castle but it ends up reviving him.
This time he's really ticked off though, because the rites have banned him from his home. So, of course, the local townsfolk become his prey once more, starting with the beautiful daughter of the monsignor who tried to exorcise him.
This is the first of Hammer's Draculas not to be directed by Terence Fisher, but his cinematographer, Freddie Francis, fills in, making one of the more stylish films in the series.
It's also the most sexually open Dracula film yet, with horny young lovers and occasional female nudity. And a memorably ghastly ending for the count.
For years to come, the Hammer studio continue to turn out Dracula films with various combinations of Lee, Cushing and other actors, although without Terence Fisher at the helm. Among the gory delights are The Scars of Dracula (1970), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Dracula AD 1972 (1972), and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974). None reached the heights of Fisher's first three Dracula films though.
And don't get taken in by the title of Countess Dracula (1971). It's a decent Hammer horror flick based on the bloody deeds of a real-life character from the eighteenth century in Hungary, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, but it's got nothing to do with vampires, except that as she awaits execution at the end of the film the crowd starts chanting "Countess Dracula! Countess Dracula!" See it for the shots of bodacious scream queen Ingrid Pitt nakedly bathing in blood, but not to add to your Dracula lore.