Review: Vintage Hammer Horror Dracula Releases

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Warner Archives Dracula

Dracula

Christopher Lee’s first two outings as Dracula finally get a proper Blu-Ray release and it was worth the wait.

First up is Horror Of Dracula released by Warner Brothers Archive Collection. Originally released in the UK as “Dracula,” this film had its name changed in the US so as not to be confused with Universal’s 1931 Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi.

On the heels of Warners Archive’s releases of Dracula 1972 AD and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (see my reviews here) comes Lee’s first appearance as Bram Stoker’s iconic creature of the night.

Originally released in 1958, “Horror Of Dracula” is a beautiful film filled with spectacular sets, beautiful costumes and enough scary goodness to keep any classic horror fan grinning from start to finish. The cast is stellar with Lee as the charismatic Count Dracula, Peter Cushing making his debut as Doctor Van Helsing. This Blu-Ray is a bare bones affair containing only the film and the original movie trailer. The film itself was restored in 2007 by the British Film Institute and has never looked better.

Next up: Dracula Prince Of Darkness.

Released in 1966, the film marks Lee’s second appearance of his portrayal of Dracula and is definitely the best of Hammer’s Dracula sequels. The film boasts  another top notch cast including Barbara Shelley and Andrew Kier. Director Terence Fisher and Screenwriter Jimmy Sangster also return making this film the perfect double feature when watched back to back with Horror Of Dracula.

As always Shout Factory has pulled out all the stops to make this Blu-Ray edition a completist’s dream.  Everything about this release is top notch! From the 4K scan of the original film elements to the new audio commentary with author Troy Howarth, every aspect of this release is stellar. Special features include: Stills Gallery, Theatrical Trailer, an episode of The World Of Hammer: “Dracula and the Undead”, a mini Documentary “Back To Black” and much more.

Both Horror Of Dracula and Dracula Prince Of Darkness are without a doubt worth owning but the edge goes to the Prince for all the extra TLC that went into its release.

Warner Brothers Dracula

 

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Pat Francis currently hosts the popular comedy/music podcast “Rock Solid,” called 1 of the 8 great music podcasts to put in your ears by USA Today and featuring artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Sammy Hagar and Susanna Hoffs. His frequent appearances on Jimmy Pardo’s top rated podcast “Never Not Funny” are fan favorites. Pat began his entertainment career as a stand-up comic in Chicago, IL. After touring the country and performing in 42 states at comedy clubs and colleges, he relocated to Los Angeles, CA. There he appeared as a comedian on Comedy Central, AMC, the UCB and is a yearly regular at the San Francisco Sketchfest. For the past 5 years he has also served as Co-Host of the yearly event Pardcast-A-Thon which to date has raised over 700,000 for Smile Train. When not entertaining people in person he also makes his living as a Story Producer for reality television programs. It is also important to know that Pat is a monkey in a human mask.

Pat FrancisReview: Vintage Hammer Horror Dracula Releases