13 Essential Dracula Performances in Movies and TV

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Dracula is getting infusions from a doctor whose credentials are suspect. There are two great transformations in House of Dracula, Dracula’s death and the doctor’s awakening as a vampire. House of Frankenstein is the better movie as a whole, but Carradine’s performance in House of Dracula is one of the best Draculas there is. 

Billy the Kid Vs. Dracula is fun. For a while. Carradine looks like he stepped off Gilligan’s Island. In 1979’s Nocturna, John Carradine’s Dracula got to get down with Lily Munster, Yvonne De Carlo.

2. Christopher Lee

Go with me here: Christopher Lee is the Spaghetti-western-Clint-Eastwood of horror. He didn’t smoke a cheroot or spit chewing tobacco on the foreheads of his dead, but he squinted at the sunlight. Lee did for after-hours suave what Eastwood did for underplayed lone gun desperado. Christopher Lee’s Dracula didn’t say much, overcame ghastly odds and did it all on a tight budget.

Lee played the count in nine movies. He brought regal bearing, British sexual sadism, and old world charm to a hero who has survived centuries on his wit and brutality. Starting in 1958 with a play on the Renfield story, Horror of Dracula was directed by Hammer horror master Terence Fisher and pitted Lee against the evil Peter Cushing for the first time.

Terence Fisher resurrected Dracula from the dead for Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1966. Lee put the bite on Barbara Shelley.

Freddie Francis brought in the Catholic Church to exorcise Dracula’s castle in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave in 1968. Christopher Lee got to sew his wild oats eternally when Jesús Franco innovated on the return to youth angle in Count Dracula in 1970. Future Dracula Klaus Kinski and one-time Phantom of the Opera Herbert Lom joined in the fun.

read more: 13 Greatest Hammer Horror Monsters

Dracula taught rich Brits a thing or two about real decadence in Taste the Blood of Dracula in 1970. In Dracula A.D. 1972 the count fools London by simply spelling his name backwards as Johnny Alucard. The Satanic Rites of Dracula from 1973 had Lee matching wits with Scotland Yard, and in Dracula and Son he antiqued.

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