(1931)

The story of the strangest passion the world has ever known!

British estate agent Renfield travels to Transylvania to meet with the mysterious Count Dracula, who is interested in leasing a castle in London and is, unbeknownst to Renfield, a vampire. After Dracula enslaves Renfield and drives him to insanity, the pair sail to London together, and as Dracula begins preying on London socialites, the two become the subject of study for a supernaturalist professor, Abraham Van Helsing.

Though not my very favourite movie about the infamous vampire, this is quite beautiful, well-told and gorgeously photographed (I really can't wait to see the blu!) and is most probably Bela Lugosi's finest hour (though I love his work; and it's also right up there with the greatest-ever vampiric depictions on celluloid), and it has genuine scares. Lugosi not only growls and snarls but also delivers the succulent seductive power of both evil itself and immortality--no matter what devastating consequences that immortal life may truly mean.
Essential for both horror fanatics and fans of early (up to and including the 30's) cinema to own on the highest-possible quality, and regular re-watches. It's simply THAT GOOD.
The fact that its American release date was Valentine's Day (its New York City premiere was two days earlier) only further hits home the fact that its immortality is due to the fact that it isn't simply a cornerstone of Gothic horror but with a vibrant love story at its very heart.

Universal Pictures by Tod Browning, Karl Freund, Bram Stoker, Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston.
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners.

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Keywords: transylvania based on novel or book monster castle vampire spider bat count based on play or musical undead sanitarium black and white pre-code lunatic dracula

02/14/1931

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