Dracula (1931)
October 21, 2022 7:53 AM - Subscribe

The dashing, mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), after hypnotizing a British soldier, Renfield (Dwight Frye), into his mindless slave, travels to London and takes up residence in an old castle. Soon Dracula begins to wreak havoc, sucking the blood of young women and turning them into vampires. When he sets his sights on Mina (Helen Chandler), the daughter of a prominent doctor, vampire-hunter Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) is enlisted to put a stop to the count's never-ending bloodlust.

Directed by Tod Browning. Written by John L. Balderston, Garrett Fort, Dudley Murphy, based on the novel by Bram Stoker. Produced by Tod Browning and Carl Laemmle, Jr.

94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Peacock, Criterion, and Tubi. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Still love this and watch it every year around Halloween. It's campy (those ridiculous bats! the random armadillo!) but also genuinely creepy in parts. The castle set still looks fantastic and I always love the bit with the spider web on the stairs.

Lugosi is the reason we remember this film, of course. Such an iconic performance.
posted by Eddie Mars at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

If memory serves me correctly, this film was adapted from the same popular stage play (starring Lugosi and Van Sloan) as the 1979 film version, which starred Frank Langella as the title character, again both on stage and screen.

So it's stage-y and melodramatic, but undeniably memorable for all the reason Eddie Mars cites.
posted by Gelatin at 9:17 AM on October 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think people sometimes don't think about how iconic a performance has to be that for decades after, when people play the same type of monster as this actor, they tend to play it by doing an impression of him.

Bela Lugosi is amazing in this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:21 AM on October 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

I really was confused about the armadillo. About as confused as I was by the hyena in Nosferatu.

I also remember the guy who played Renfeld in this adaptation was really creepy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:38 AM on October 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

One detail about the film that many people miss is that there is no music, other than during the opening credits, and in the theater scene where it makes sense that one would hear music in the background. No score was specifically written for the movie. It’s mostly just voices and noises throughout, which really adds to the menace as well as drawing you in. It’s kind of an interesting lesson in just how much a film score can distract the viewer.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

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