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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Tod Browning

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

A true horror classic, the 1931 version of DRACULA has never been beaten but matched in the nearly 90 years since.

The story is as old as time, Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) travels to Europe and in doing so brings a bloodlust to the shores of England. Hot on his tail is Dr Van Helsing who figures his sudden arrival and the strange goings on are not a coincidence.

The Gothic imagery is made even eerie by the eras filming techniques and while it may not have been as purposeful when it was shot, there are images within this adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel that still haunt. Bela Lugosi's turn is both enchanting and sinister but not quite a personification of evil, instead we have a Count who is self aware of his desires and will do whatever is needed to survive.

Tod Browning's adaptation is pretty faithful to the novel and uses the best technology of the time to bring this story to life. Some elements such as the ball are reduced to a meeting but never cease to have less of a lasting effect and the films more to-the-point approach not only make for a constricted yet purposeful movie, but one that keeps the tension rising with every appearance of the Count.

The shadows on the walls, the mirror reflection scene, the the eye close-up lighting, the mystique of this famous icon is still as mesmerising today and like many of the Universal Monsters, this is a timeless masterpiece that may lack violence of modern cinema but is a Gothic horror done right.

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