Dracula ★★★★

Now this slaps! All the elements that made The Curse of Frankenstein such a charming and stylish little film are all utilized to perfection here and the low budget, lean screenplay fits Bram Stoker's iconic creation much better than it did Mary Shelley's. This film helped define so many of the staples of the vampire mythos and they're all done so well here! Fisher and Lee play up the inherent eroticism of Dracula so wonderfully and Lee, although possessed of a truly menacing stature, is so magnetic as the mysterious count. Peter Cushing's Van Helsing is very distinct from his brilliant turn as Victor Frankenstein and is instead a more traditional heroic protagonist. The set design and production here is absolutely stellar and the fog machines and violently magenta blood are such a cool touch! The screenplay makes good use of just a few settings and masterfully creates a story filled with magic, folklore and dark romanticism. The practical effects in the final scene are particularly terrifying and Lee's incredible performance makes this gem so worth it! Terence Fisher is a solid, reliable director that knows just how to use the incredible sets to create iconic imagery and seems to understand the appeal of Dracula so well.