Today's MONSTERMONDAY features something that has been part of Hammer films lore for as long as I can remember. With the emergence of unseen publicity stills and contact sheets from Hammer films 1958 Dracula, the prompting of all kinds of theories around the missing or censored shots from the final cut of the film can be read on many forums on the net. The release of the remastered blu ray a few years ago, caused a few of us to smile smugly about the inclusion of the footage of Dracula's disintegration. We suspected it was shot, the problem was finding it! Most of that hunch was based on a colour photograph of Lee's Dracula in the final moments of the film, lying on the floor wearing make up that hinted of another stage in his grisly death appearance.
The still of John Van Eyssen as Jonathan Harker in our banner, hints at maybe something similar. We know the character is bitten by Valerie Gaunt, we see Peter Cushing's Van Helsing stake him, finding him in the castle crypt and judging by Van Helsing's grimace on looking on his vampire state, he wasn't a pretty sight! For whatever reason, what Van Helsing saw, was snipped out of prints for the European market. Though, it could have been included in the Japanese print, which provided the source of the missing footage of Dracula's death. As reels 1,2,3 were rendered unusable and damaged after finding the print, the scene where this shot appeared in the feature, was lost to us. Many argue the point that this shot was never included in ANY print, it was never shot...but I'll go with the point I made when the Dracula death photograph was found...Director Terence Fisher I suspect, would not have spent time setting up this scene, without shooting it. Time was premium at Hammer and was never wasted. Cushing himself has stated multiple takes were rare, because of costs...and I can't see Anthony Hinds signing off on a SFX - Make Up head of Harker, with no intention of using it! Hammer did not waste money on a budget that was already tight...
VALERIE GAUNT as the Vampire Woman from
Hammer films'Dracula' / 'Horror of Dracula' (1958)
...and Harker's VAMPIRE undead-head at the left
of the photograph...
Still it looks great, a pity we have yet to see this shot in the film. There is further evidence of this make up head in a publicity photograph of Valerie Gaunt, included in the thread below. It's an interesting pic and story...and for that reason alone, we present it as this week's icky item for #MONSTERMONDAY ...what do you think? - Marcus