As this is the month of Halloween, I make it a point to watch many classic horror films during this period.
One of these is the original 1931 classic movie Dracula. Although Nosferatu (1922) was the first film version of Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel (and is, indeed a great film), it would be this film which would all but set in stone how to depict the Count and vampires on the screen.
Bela Lugosi became an instant star playing the title role, having played it onstage a number of times, before Universal Studios finally cast him in its film version (their original choice, Lon Chaney, died before filming began).
The movie itself actually has more in common with the stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston.
While the film doesn’t quite horrify today, it is still an endearing part of pop culture (hence, why we have Count von Count on Sesame Street and Count Chocula cereal).
We may chuckle at the sight of armadillos in Transylvania, but Lugosi’s Count is always worth watching for horror fans. He is matched by Dwight Frye as Dracula’s insect-eating servant Renfield, and Edward Van Sloan as Dracula’s nemesis Prof. Van Helsing.
The success of this film would also kick-start Universal’s domain over the horror genre from the 1930s-50s, with other classic monster flicks such as Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Wolf Man (1941) and Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954).