Count Dracula has moved to London and is wreaking havoc! It’s up to a Dr. Van Helsing to stop this living nightmare!
Filmed in 1931. Now let’s repeat that again so it sinks in. Filmed in 1931! Directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula.
This was the movie that started it all! The very first movie of the Universal Monster series and who better than Count Dracula, the monster among all monsters. Sure some of us (even me) have other favorite monsters. Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Gillman or the Invisible Man or the Bride.
But regardless which one you love most, we all can agree on two things! 1. We love them all and 2. Dracula is the master of them all. The most sinister and evil. the one whom all creatures of the night abide in a terrible sanctuary. Dracula, the name will forever go down in history. Dracula, the one that came before Freddy, Jason, Michael, the Hell Priest, Chucky and Pennywise. He is the monster of nightmares, feeding on our blood and using that mind control devilry to do his bidding. He has class, he has mystery and he has those eyes!
Through the years there have been countless re-imaginings of Dracula. He’s literally the James Bond of the horror world. He seems to find new ground in every new generation and the person who plays the part is always stepping into legend. Literally playing a part in a long history.
Though some have been great adaptations:
There have been some real stinkers:
ugh, and even more stinkers:
With all of the Dracula’s out there, Bela Lugosi is the best. Although I give it a close shave for Christopher Lee. Lugosi is the one that brought a charisma to the part. Making him the deceitful villain that will woo any victim but then turn into an evil monster. Christopher Lee’s Dracula always seemed much more menacing and wins on other merits.
The movie is a great film that to this day; I find it to be a pleasure to watch. The soft resonating sounds and brilliant cinematography set a standard in film making. Even if the movie isn’t scary to most people, I think the visuals alone are to be admired. Lugosi was an actor among actors and took the craft very serious. He actually passed on playing Frankenstein (which would later go to the great Boris Karloff) because he felt the role was limited due to the lack of lines. Lugosi wanted to perform and that he did. This movie would lift Lugosi to the top and make him a horror icon for years to come.
As a horror enthusiast for all the ages; I just admire this film and see it as a movie must for any horror fan. The movie has a constantly mesmerizing dark tone. It has amazing acting not just from Bela Lugosi but also Helen Chandler as Mena and one amazing role of Dwight Frye as Renfeild. The music in the film isn’t an original score, instead it’s orchestra music like Swann Lake. It sets an eerie atmosphere for the movie.
My favorite scene is when Renfield first enters Dracula’s castle and stands in that massive corridor. Dracula walks down the stairwell and we have this widespread shot of the entire room. It creates a vastness of the atmosphere and there Lugosi says “I am Dracula” with that deep accent. It’s beautiful.
I watch this film (along with most of the classic monster films) every year and find little details within it that I love. I regard Lugosi as an icon and master of the craft. Though he made other films that were great, I believe Dracula is his crowning achievement. Watch this film and appreciate the fine craft it brings.