Dracula… Hammer Films… Peter Cushing… Christopher Lee (no relation to Bruce Lee)…
Apparently, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were the Corey Haim and Corey Feldman of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, having amassed a whopping 22 films in their long running on screen partnership. During their tenure with the now legendary Hammer Films, the two would join forces to conquer Horror’s many legends: Sherlock Holmes, Werewolves, Mummies, Frankenstein and most notably… the Dracula franchise (Cushing as Professor Van Helsing and Lee as Dracula) to mention a few.
Though, they played their characters in over 12 films, a few films ran separate timelines that would lead to stories were Dracula would cross paths with Van Helsing (or a future descendant still played by Cushing).
Which brings us to Dracula A.D. Dracula A.D. brought a much needed reboot to the franchise by transporting Dracula himself from the 1800’s to the then modern 1972. Summoned forth in the swinging 70’s, Dracula takes on, go-go boots, big chested women, the hipster mod set, and Van Helsing’s grandson! You shouldn’t expect Mike Meyers to pop up in his Austin Powers get up, but it’s still a fun little romp down horror lane, making Dracula A.D. an Awesome B Movie.
The iconic Peter Cushing passed away in 1994 at 81 yrs old. He appeared in Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) as Grand Moff Tarkin and Top Secret (1984) with Val Kilmer . It’s my belief that Roddy McDowall’s character “Peter Vincent” in Fright Night (1985), is an homage to Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.
Ironically, Christopher Lee began resurfacing in the more recent Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogies. Lee has continued his work with the newly resurrected Hammer Studio with The Resident (2010).
As for the return of Hammer, the library is continuing to grow for a whole new generation of Horror fans to discover, with yet another offering to the Vampire genre… Let Me In (2010).
It was in my grandfathers big, empty, scary house when I was alone with the sun setting that Creature Double Feature played on a Sunday afternoon, that I saw my first Dracula film with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee from Hammer Films. In the not to distant future I will delve into Hammer’s Library and give the studio it’s due respect for it’s many contributions to the genre. It will be quite an undertaking.