Fright Night Friday: Dracula (1931)

Friday, October 23, 2015

How could you possibly have a series where you watch movies about vampires and not include Bela Lugosi's Dracula?


  • I wasn't expecting Swan Lake to be the theme for the opening credits and that was so odd to me.
  • Renfield was incredibly entertaining and kept reminding me of Igor
  • I wish I'd had an opportunity to watch this with the Philip Glass score. Apparently you can do that on the DVD release of the movie and I honestly am considering buying the movie just to do that.
  • Dracula is SO evil that he keeps wolves around (okay), bats (I can see that), spiders and other insects (totally works), possums (ehhh maybe), and ARMADILLOS (WHAT). Yes, apparently armadillos are native to Transylvania and Dracula keeps them in his backyard.
  • the bat on strings was entertaining but perhaps not in the way the director intended
  • I loved how deliciously, gloriously, over-the-top gothic the castle and the abbey sets were. I have no idea if it were this much of a stereotype back in the 30's but even though it looks kitchsy today I loved it.
  • there was no music to this but it really worked. I think the style of music at the time (bombast) would not have worked for the movie. The lack of music helped keep everything more restrained.
  • I kind of wish the movie had taken place in the Victorian or Baroque or Romantic eras instead of "modern day" (1930's) because imagine how lush the costumes would have been! As it was Dracula actually didn't look too terribly out of place in the 1930's world.
  • I was expecting over-the-top acting from Lugosi, and we did get that somewhat. But Lugosi was strangely compelling. In the moments where he was interacting with the other characters and not being a vampire, I found him charismatic almost. Out of all the people in the movie he absolutely stands out and not just because he's the title character. Only perhaps Van Helsing has as much force on screen as Lugosi. I wish we'd gotten to see this more restrained side of his Dracula because that was when he really shone. And while I found the frequent shots of his eyes as he was "hypnotizing" others to be kind of silly at the time, they are what is sticking with me the most now that the movie is over. This is Lugosi's movie, and everyone else is just sort of living in it.

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