Friday, October 21, 2011


Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye
Written by: Hamilton Deane, Bram Stoker
Director: Tod Browning

Rating: * * * *     Stars       +       (Fan Bonus *   )  Total: * * * * *

Count Dracula moves to Englund and begins to prey upon it's citizens. When he turns to the virtuous Mina, Dr. Van Helsing is called in, and recognizes her illness as the work of a vampire.

Renfield arrives at Dracula's castle after a harrowing journey through the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. He is there to finalize the purchase of Carfax Abbey, in London. After signing, the Count drugs Renfield, turning him into his ghoulish slave. Renfield watches over Dracula by day while they voyage by sea. When Dracula sets up shop in London he turns Lucy into a vampire. But then, he turns his attention towards Mina, who he tries to woe away from her betrothed, John Harker (David Manners). Mina's father, Dr. Seward, calls in Van Helsing after Mina falls ill to a strange illness. Van Helsing tells them she is falling prey to the work of a vampire, and tells them what is involved in destroying such a creature. But will they be up to it?

The story adapted from Bram Stoker's novel has been told dozens of times, but this is the definitive and iconic version. Bela Lugosi pulls off the performance that defines his career, and sadly, defined his life. The pace of the film starts off strong, but begins to wilt, which actually is something of a benefit to this film. Director Tod Browning brilliantly uses techniques throughout the film to keep Dracula's presence felt, even when not on screen. 

It's almost hard not to love Dracula. Certainly one of the first hull length horror talkies, Dracula has endured for 80 years, and shows no sign of slowing. Bela's method of acting made the Count sexy, spellbinding, and sophistication that was very sensationalistic for its time. Credit also goes to Dwight Frye's performance as Renfield, the man turned psychotic slave of Dracula's. His laugh alone is still echoed today, even if people today don't realize its origin.


No comments:

Post a Comment