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The Hammer Vampire Movies

Updated on February 9, 2014

Hammer Studios: Masters of the Vampire Movies

Any major horror aficionado will be familiar with Hammer Studios.  While they had a large number of horror films, they are probably most famous for creating modern vampire films that were violent and bloody. Consisting of nine movies filmed over 20 years, the Hammer Vampire Movies are classics that set the stage for later vampire movies and still hold up to modern day vampire movie fans. While Hammer Horror Movies represented more than just vampires, their early work with the Dracula movies would pave the way for scarier and scarier horror films.

Hammer's Dracula (1958)

The original Hammer Dracula was not based on the original novel by Bram Stoker, instead choosing to blaze its own road in the horror genre.

In 1958 Dracula broke many norms of Hollywood horror. Casting Christopher Lee in the lead role as Count Dracula, director Terrence Fisher developed a tale that is now known as a modern horror epic.

This story was considered the first to mainstream Dracula, and was celebrated highly among spectators as well as critics. The movie established the term "Hammer Vampire" that further symbolized the term for Dracula related movies. "Hammer Vampire" was original the production house that made a series of such movies. It also brought the gore and terror level of horror films to an entirely new, and more modern, level.

The movie contains the tale of dark Evil power count Dracula who had some supernatural vampire power, living in a distinct strange and peculiar kind of place. This place is still considered to be one of the best highly appreciated sets as Dracula's Palace. Van Helsing is a queer specialist of some mystical field. He chases and conquerors Dracula's power in procedure of saving some people from Dracula's threat. It ultimately turns into a defeat, but not death, for Dracula. The plot helps the story run further so it became first of a famous series of upcoming Dracula Movies.

This movie contains a new cinema horror redefining the norms. On one side direction, cinematography and framing is unforgettable, other side the tale has now become myth. The deviations from the original novel are forgotten and people still consider that Bram Stocker's quintessence is found in Terrence Fisher's Movie.

Video of the Original Dracula Trailer

Yep, this is the original preview to Hammer's Dracula, 1958.

Hammer's The Brides of Dracula (1960)

Just two years after the release of 1958 Dracula, producers of "Hammer Vampire" and director Terrence Fisher struck again, bringing up the next tale in Hammer Vampire series. Now this time with a movie named The Brides of Dracula.

The main difference between this movie (which is often not considered a direct part of the Hammer Dracula movies) is that Dracula himself does NOT show up in this film. This was not a new concept, as brides had appeared in Dracula movies in 1931. Despite a vast array of vampire movies, the Hammer Vampire Studio's 1958 version of "Dracula" starring Christopher Lee was still fresh in viewers' minds, and they were more than ready to accept a sequel to the original highly acclaimed movie. This film influenced future films, as well, not the least of which was Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stocker's Dracula that would come out over 30 years later.

This movie expands the original story of Count Dracula, introducing the brides of Dracula. The movie evolves from Dr. Van Helsing's visit to Transylvania, where he had to face the threat of lifeless vampires again. A parallel story discloses you how Dracula and his brides are doing.

The sudden switching of shots from one place to another and using highly refined sets, art directors hit new highs with this film. The sets still hold up to this day, often shaming modern special effects.

Commercially speaking, this film was not a comparable commercial success with 1958 Dracula, but it does have its strong fans and gave enough feedback for the grounding many of next Dracula and horror movies. Along with few priors of same production movies, this movie helped very much in bringing the horror to mainstream cinema.

Before this time, horror movies were considered to be second grade cinema performed only by underdogs in Hollywood.

The Brides of Dracula on Laser Disc

Brides of Dracula, The Laserdisc (1960) [40606]
Brides of Dracula, The Laserdisc (1960) [40606]

The original Hammer classic, on laserdisc

 

Hammer's Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

Early Dracula movies and even the Hammer Vampire Series had been dealing with Bram stocker's novel in a more strict interpretation.

In 1966, there came a movie from same Hammer Vampire Production and director Terrance Fisher. This movie would be specifically known for having the courage to take considerable deviations from the original Bram Stoker novel.

This movie eliminates the important characters from Bram Stoker's Dracula and replaces the original plot with an entirely new story.

The story starts with some newly introduced guests at Dracula's house who are initially served by Dracula's servant. The story evolves further with several original episodes, and a new protagonist replacing the original Van Helsing as a ghost hunter.

The character Father Sandor, played by actor Andrew Keir, is the new hunter of the undead. This story is paralleling the tale of Dracula's incarnation from his ashes.

The end was known as a fantastic cinematic sequence that helped to redefine how people looked at horror movies, and how future directors would film them from that time on.

Christopher Lee played Count Dracula in all the Hammer Vampire productions, and portrayed a rigid image of Dracula that is still emulated today and is still considered the most memorable image of Count Dracula.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness from Amazon

The classic Hammer vampire movies, all on DVD.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Dracula: Prince of Darkness

Dracula: Prince of Darkness on DVD, the original classic vampire horror movie

 
Dracula Prince of Darkness/The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Dracula Prince of Darkness/The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Or you can buy two Hammer vampire films and enjoy these classic movies.

 

Hammer's Dracula Has Risen from his Grave (1968)

The fourth Dracula tale from Hammer Studios was Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, and was released in 1968.

This film acted as a further continuation of the Dracula tales already made in the previous vampire films by Hammer Studios.

Dracula Has Risen from Grave was a movie that was meant to be dramatic, but the director was willing to give up some drama to really wratchet up the horror aspect of this film. While the earlier Hammer Vampire movies gave both horror films and vampire films an entirely new look, this film went even further, going for a complete horror look to Dracula.

This time he was more horrifying, terrorizing, and strictly dark. Previous movies despite the violence, still had Dracula as charming and seducting. Now, this movie starts with a terrified boy who found out another victim of Dracula before another rampage of murders begins again.

This movie is more of a horror movie than Dracula movies before. It shows complete dark Dracula that can only be an object of horror. This is a quick movie, running only 92 minutes long, to pack in the kind of horror that even modern day blood and gore fans will love.

Hammer's Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969)

Christopher Lee was a smash hit as Dracula, and another sequel was yet to come from Hammer Studios as in 1969 Taste the Blood of Dracula was released as a sequel to the 1968 film Dracula Has Risen from His Grave.

While Christopher Lee returned as the increasingly more evil and dramatic vampire, there was a brand new director for this film, Peter Sasdy. Sasdy introduces the idea of being able to ressurect a vampire through blood on ashes.

In this film the concept of strong hypnotism is also used, as the sons of the men who backed out of their agreement to serve the dark lord are used as Dracula's weapons to murder their own fathers.

This movie made good money, but neither the critics nor the public remembered it for very long, as it was less impressive than some of its predecessors, and than the vampire movies that would come in the future.

Great Hammer Vampire Stuff on Amazon

Hammer's Taste of Blood on DVD, and more!

Taste the Blood of Dracula
Taste the Blood of Dracula

The original vampire classic adapted to DVD.

 

Hammer's Scars of Dracula (1970)

A new director was hired for this film, Roy Ward Baker, who put together a movie that had some very positive critical reception. Some people have gone so far as to say that this was the second best vampire movie out of the entire Hammer Dracula Series.

This was an incredibly dark film that seems to veer off from the others movies, and rather than being a sequel, should be considered its own. Some critics hated this film, saying Dracula was made too cruel--basically the old romantic myth of Dracula was dying, and many people didn't like that.

This film introduces a command over nature that Dracula did not have before, and is an attempt to re-create a scene from the actual novel that no other movie had attempted to copy.

This is a dark movie, even now, and is considered by many fans of gothic movies to be one of the best put out by Hammer Studios.

Hammer Scars of Dracula on DVD

A classic is a classic.

Scars of Dracula
Scars of Dracula

Scars of Dracula on DVD--what more could you ask for?

 

Dracula A.D. (1972)

Dracula A.D. (which had several titles, like Dracula 1972, Dracula A.D. 1972, etc.) is unusual right off the bat among the other Hammer Dracula Films because it is set in the "present." The present being 1972.

This is a fun movie, with the granddaughter of the last Helsing to kill Dracula as the main character. She is a hippie, and her group ends up ressurecting Dracula, who plots his revenge.

This is an interesting film, one that was commissioned by Warner Brothers to be a modern day vampire tale, and it's a decent vampire movie that if nothing else, I think it's a lot of fun.

Video Clip of Dracula A.D. 1972

This is a great opening in the sense that I'm a sucker for campy vampire films...I think these are great fun!

Dracula A.D. 1972

Well, it still has camp value. After all, it was the 70's...

Dracula A.D. 1972 [VHS]
Dracula A.D. 1972 [VHS]

You still have to have a VCR for this one, but you can still find good copies of this second to last official movie in the vampire series.

 

Hammer's The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

The Satanic Rites of Dracula by Hammer Studios was released in 1973 and it is a sequel to Dracula A.D. 1972, though it's not dependent on the first movie.

This movie revolves around what is now a popular vampire cliché, which is the vampires being ressurected by Satanic cults and rituals. This movie was one of the earliest ones to portray this, and the same happens here, bringing Inspector Murray to a case.

The ending is a bit, well, it's probably part of the reason this film isn't more widely remembered, but nonetheless it is a decent film that has its fans, and it is the last time Christopher Lee plays the role of Count Dracula for the Hammer series.

Buy Hammer Satanic Rites of Dracula

The last official movie of the Hammer Vampire Series

The Satanic Rites of Dracula
The Satanic Rites of Dracula

The last official vampire film in the Hammer vampire series, now on DVD.

 
Dracula Prince of Darkness/The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Dracula Prince of Darkness/The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Double packs are always good, especially with classic vampire films.

 
The Horror of Hammer
The Horror of Hammer

Good flick about Hammer Studios and their effect on horror cinema.

 

Hammer's The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

The movie The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was a film that I enjoyed thoroughly because it combined the kung fu movie with the Gothic vampire flick, and adds in a few zombies for kicks.

This was a film that was willing to take chances, and proved that the best kung fu vampire movies didn't all have to come from Thailand, but that the Brits could put together a good one as well. Though this movie is certainly dated, it holds up well enough for fans of kung fu and old horror films.

The Eastern flair is a nice touch, and this film is worth seeing, and is even thought of by many to be better than the last few more traditional Hammer Vampire films.

Buy the Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

A strange and pleasantly experimental take on the traditional vampire film.

Transformation Sequence from Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

This was a strange, strange film.

The 9 Hammer Vampire Movies - Which Hammer Studios vampire movie did you love the most?

Which of the 9 Hammer Vampire Movies is your Favorite?

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Vampire Stuff on eBay

You never know what kind of vampire collectibles you're going to find!

Any big fans of vampire movies out there? How about the Hammer Studios films in particular?

Vampire Movie Fans?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Gotta love them i was born in 1961 so late night movies at the weekend in my teenage years where a steady diet of hammer schlock horror. Personal faves involve The abominable Dr Phibes( a Vincent Ptrice classic) and countess Dracula with Ingrid Pitt who haunts my sexual fantasies to this day.

    • italianizeyours profile image

      italianizeyours 6 years ago

      I'll have to check out The Legend of The 7 Golden Vampires. I was unaware Hammer made a kung-fu/vampire flick. I thought Captain Kronos was the closest that they came to the action/vampire

    • profile image

      Oosquid 6 years ago

      Ah yes, Hammer made some *loody good vampire films. Chris Lee and Peter Cushing were the tops. Great lens.

    • profile image

      scar4 6 years ago

      I only watched one vampire movie" Twilight" series and love the starring actors Robert Pattinson( attracted by his angelic face and endless tenderness)and Taylor Lautner ( for his strong muscle), can't wait to see its sequel. Thank you for posting this marvellous lens.

    • SeanVernall LM profile image

      SeanVernall LM 6 years ago

      You forgot 'Twins of Evil' which is a Hammer classic and even better than the Dracula films in my opinion.

    • ArtformTheHeart profile image

      ArtformTheHeart 5 years ago

      I didn't realise Hammer did so many of those movies.

    • dvdmoviereviews profile image

      dvdmoviereviews 5 years ago

      love the Hammer films. The best producers of Horror. Watching now they are not scary but are great to watch. I think nearly every one had Michael Ripper in it playing a local inn keeper.

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      I love my vampire movies, and this is a great lens, but you did miss the Karnstein vampire films - Lust for a Vampire, the Vampire Lovers, Captain Kronos and Twins of Evil. And the newly reformed Hammer also have produced Let Me In. Enjoyed reading this, hope you do one about Hammer's Mummy movies.

    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 4 years ago from Michigan

      Angel blessings. I love Hammer Horror films and this is a great collection of the vampire flicks.

    • EshanMonteath profile image
      Author

      EshanMonteath 4 years ago

      @PatriciaJoy: Thanks! They were ground breaking, and I think most of them still hold up :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I've all 8 of christopher lee as dracula movies and i would watch them again 10 times but with twilight i rather jump off a cliff than watch it a 2cnd time

    • EshanMonteath profile image
      Author

      EshanMonteath 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Awesome comment! I'm in complete agreement with you on both counts when it comes to those vampire movies. Or I guess that's the difference between real vampire movies versus those, uh, "vampire movies." Keep up the good fight!

    • profile image

      Raymond 2 years ago

      Can't find Dracula AD1972 on DVD, the only one of Chris Lees that I haven't got!

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