Saturday, April 3, 2010

#202: Dracula

Directed by: TOD BROWNING
1931, TSPDT Rank #826

Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in this 1931 pioneering horror film is an iconic character that has come to define the vampire genre. However, I really don't think this film is worth seeing anymore, unless for its historical value. This was one of the first horror films made at Universal Studios, which soon became known for their monster movies, and really must have scared people at the time, especially since sound in films was a relatively new concept, and the smooth yet sinister speech of the Count must have been all the more chilling because of it. However, despite very good atmosphere during the Transylvania scenes, the other actors don't hold it up, and Browning (who one year later made the cult classic 'Freaks,' which is much higher on the list) doesn't much more than is needed to make the film functional. I would much rather suggest the 1958 Hammer version of Dracula with Christopher Lee as the Count (at #980 on the list), and possibly the earlier version as a historical curiosity if you're still interested.

(Rating: 5/10)

1 comment:

  1. Jake, Bela as the Count was considered at the time to be a sex symbol. Not kidding. As for the other cast members, I think you're giving Dwight Frye the short end of the stick. He's got a few moments that are still quite creepy. Like when they find him in the hull of the ship, and when he's crawling like a spider across the floor. Browning didn't have the imagination that James Whale did. He didn't move the camera as much, for one thing. Also, Browning was a severe alcohol, which might have had something to do with it.