NOSFERATU (1922: Prana Films, Germany) aka: Nosferatu, eine symphonie des grauens; Die Zwolfte Stunde
Director: Fredrich Wilhelm Murnau
This review is taken from the version of the film restoration supervised at the Muncher film museum and La Cineteca Del Comune i Bologna with support by the Lumiere project. With titles added by Frameline graphics, we receive a firsthand account of the great plague of Wisborg. I found it irritating, however, that these titles place Orlock’s castle in Transylvania, as opposed to Germany, in keeping with convention. More coherence in the narrative is achieved with the inclusion of colour tints that show night and day – sepia for the sun and a cold blue for the moonlight. Sunrise is a stark pink.
Prana Films was looking for more material after their successful Der Januskopf (1920) – an unofficial take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) – and came across Stoker’s novel. Scriptwriter Henrik Galeen moved the action of the source novel to Germany and Bremen as opposed to Transylvania and London. Hiding their tracks even further, they changed the names of all the principal characters,. concentrating their ideas on the invasion of Bremen from an unbeatable German force and mirroring the country’s plight at the time, which was in the grip of the impending threat of Nazism.
Only four characters are worthy of any real scrutiny in Nosferatu. Murnau focuses his narrative on the invasion on the lives of Hutter (Gustav Von Wangenheim) and his wife, Ellen (Greta Schröeder), by the vampire, Count Orlock (Max Schreck). The remaining cast become as anonymous as the dying peasants and the pallbearers who solemnly shoulder the burdens of the town. The Captain of the Empuza, Dr Sievers, Harding and Bulwer are just seemingly employed to carry the running of the story.
Knock, is the fourth participant, the Renfield character and the author’s favourite of the
film, played with an intense maniacal edge by Alexander Granach, in ridiculously
overdone make-up. He becomes a frightening correlative to the eventual invasion by the Count himself. Picking out the over-enthusiastic Hutter to travel to Transylvania to close the deal on the purchase of his neighbouring house across the road,. it is Knock who suggests the building, his face betraying a kind of unseen command. He makes a violent patient as he continuously attacks both the doctor and the guards at the asylum,. disregarding their importance just as quickly to lovingly gaze on spiders in their web while catching and eating flies.
He is as swift as Mr Hyde, as he clambers over rooftops to escape an angry mob, and seems impervious to the stones that pelt him as he waits for his Messiah. Glorious expectation takes over his whole body as he clambers around his cell when the Empuza is captured by Orlock. We don’t need any intimate scenes of Orlock visiting the cell:, it is obvious that Knock has a pretty good idea of what awaits him when the Master hits town. The audience is never let in on the joke and Knock is eventually resigned to moping in his cell as the rays of the sun destroy the vampire and dampen his own spirits.
Alexander Granach (real name Jessaja Granach) is the most prolific actor in Nosferatu. Born to Jewish parents he fled to the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power. He later abandoned this haven for Hollywood as the Fuhrer’s influence spread further. Nosferatu was his first film and the most exhibited of his silent movies. His first American film was Ninotchka (1932) and he went on to portray Nazi’s and anti-fascists in a string of propagandist films during the war years. His final film was The Seventh Cross (1944). He died in 1945, the same year as his autobiography, There goes an Actor, was published. It is to be re-published in 2010 under the new title, From the Shtetl to the Stage: The Odyssey of a Wandering Actor.
We see Hutter’s urge to please his employers by happily agreeing to travel to the land of ghosts and robbers. He is the Jonathan Harker clone who thoughtlessly informs Ellen of the possible dangers of his trek and seems disinterested in her impending fears for him. Taking to the road we find his hyperactive nature just that little bit grating But this seems to be Murnau’s intention. When the imposing dread wipes the smile off the young estate agent’s face, we feel our own nerves begin to jangle. We are drawn in, like Hutter, to the nightmares of the dark.
Hutter is bitten by the vampire very early in the proceedings: once, off-camera and he blames the incident on mosquitoes. The second time he is trapped in his guest room as Orlock appears in full vampire dress. But Hutter, like Frederick William’s Jonathon Harker in Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula (1970), doesn’t become a vampire. It does however give him the impetus to try and escape from the nightmare that he has bungled into. He finds his host lying prone in a coffin and witnesses him packing more coffins to leave for England. Using more common sense than his literary cousin, he ties bed sheets together to climb down the side of the castle wall,. his motive for escape being to reach his wife, Ellen, and to stop the coffins that he knows will bring horror to his homeland.
After a peripheral glimpse in a convent home, the race is on as he tries to reach home before the vampire. As powerless as he is in the castle, Hutter becomes even more so
back home. He races swiftly across the mountains to be with his wife and finds himself pushed out of the final battle altogether as Ellen orders him to fetch the equally useless Professor Bulwer. He is left at the end cradling her corpse while Bulwer stands in the foreground, thoughtfully stroking his chin.
Gustav Von Wangenheiem followed in both his parent’s footsteps, becoming an actor and making his screen debut in 1914. As well as Murnau, he is credited with starring in films by Fritz Lang and Karl Heinz Martin. A Nazi sympathiser, he became a member of The Communist party of Germany in 1921 and founded the Communist theatre company Die Truppe ‘31 in 1931. He produced, wrote and directed three plays before Die Truppe ‘31 was closed by order of the Nazi regime in 1933. Fleeing Nazi Germany, he found refuge in the Soviet Union and continued writing and directing plays and was a founding member of the National Committee for a Free Germany. He was married to Inge Franke in 1931 producing one son Friedel. The marriage was annulled in 1954. Wangenheim died in East Berlin August 5, 1975. The role of Hutter in Nosferatu being his most enduring screen credit.
Ellen carries the fears of Mina Harker into overdrive. Her orderly life is suddenly turned upside down when Hutter announces his proposed journey. More than hinting at extrasensory perception, she feels everything that happens to her husband. Being a dutiful wife, she leaves it to the peasants at the inn to implore Hutter not to go any further, as if believing, like Bulwer, that no man can escape his destiny.
At Harding’s residence, she begins acting a lot like Lucy Westenra, her fears driving her to sleepwalking on the terrace at all hours of the night. As the vampire and her husband draw nearer the town, she cries that: ‘He is coming!’, though it is never made clear who she waits for. Murnau makes her the true heroine of the film, when, sacrificing herself to the vampire, her actions send her into the realms of martyrdom. She becomes the saviour of, not only her husband, but the entire city, her death halting the invasion of an incredible force.
Greta Schroeder had starred in Paul Wegener’s Der Golem (1920) and Mr Wegener became her second husband. Ellen is the only role that she is remembered for.
Quoted as the most memorable vampire in cinematic history, Count Orlock does indeed cut a terrifying figure: a skeletal, sexual metaphor with rat-like ears, staring, poached-egg eyes and pointed teeth. He has no human history, but Henrik Galleen prepares his audience for the forthcoming horrors by listing them in the innocuous
Book of the Vampire: Of vampires, monstrous ghosts, sorcery and the seven deadly sins,
naming the vampire as being spawned from the seed of Belial: a publication that is passed from each individual like a frightening pamphlet of Nazi propaganda.
Turning convention on its head, he casts a nightmarish shadow that lurches around committing the acts of the vampire. Utilised by Murnau with purpose and effect, it is the shadow that we see descending and actually disappearing into the body of Hutter, as if
entering to absorb his very soul. When Ellen encounters the vampire in her bedroom, the shadow of his hand reaches out and grasps her heart, rendering her powerless. Orlock is very much like a venereal disease; not understanding, nor wanting to understand, the emotions of the sexual act, but instead using it as the vehicle to move silently and deadly from one body to the other, invading and blackening everything in its wake. Not stopping until everyone is dead.
When Hutter arrives, Orlock, unlike Dracula, seems resigned to letting him wander anywhere he likes in the castle, knowing that there is really no place he can hide. The vampire has access everywhere as all the doors open automatically at his command to allow him entry. But, he must first be invited into a willing victim’s life, and spreads his hypnotic power literally across great oceans to gain access.
Hutter’s letters are posted by the passing gypsy and arrive at their destination as a warning to the city of the terror that is coming. Orlock is announcing that he cannot be stopped. He moves confidently and swiftly, carrying his coffin under his arm, through a town that falls apart as he touches it.
The ship he captures becomes a living thing as it cuts a swathe through the waters of the Baltic. He even stops to laugh at the neighbours who have inadvertently invited him into their lives, knowing the evil that he represents. At times, he seems oddly unaware of the height of his own influence. He doesn’t acknowledge the army of rats that scuttle onto dry land in his wake. Nor does he seem to actively control them. An interesting point is the fact that we don’t see any rats in his castle; it is as if he is the whole embodiment of the pestilence, bound up in one deadly, disgusting package. Murnau’s vampire has no interest in making new acolytes and his film states quite clearly that Count Orlock is, simply, Death.
The religious aspects of Stoker’s tale are dropped altogether, the only crucifixes on show being the ones drawn in white chalk on the doors of the dead. There are no wooden stakes or the mention of prayers. These omissions leave no place for the theories of the learned Professor Bulwer, no matter how much his suspicions are realised. One also suspects that it will take more than a length of wood through one man’s heart to halt the threat that Orlock represents, no matter how God-fearing the hunter is. Only A woman who is without sin can halt the invasion, even at the cost of her own life.
The film itself carries the notoriety of being subject to the charge of plagiarism. Florence Stoker, protecting her major source of income since Bram‘s death, recognised the influence of her husband’s work and sued the film’s makers, ordering that every copy be burned. The courtroom battle lasted eight years and the ruling made in Mrs Stoker’s favour, forcing Prana Films to file for bankruptcy. Inevitably, copies of Nosferatu were hidden and, in the last eighty plus years, historians have painstakingly tried to piece together the pirated remnants to restore it to its original glory. Ironically, today, there are probably as many different versions of this film in existence, as there are straight adaptations of Dracula!
The making of Nosferatu has been shrouded in mystery for many years. As late as the mid 1970s, researchers were still speculating as to whether or not Max Schreck was a real actor or an amalgamation of different character actors whom Murnau had persuaded to take part in his film.
The actor himself did actually exist and his name was his own and not a pseudonym. Born in Berlin-Friedenau on 6th September 1879, Maximillian Schreck made his stage debut in Meseritz and Speyer and he toured Germany for the next two years in a variety of plays. He became a member of the celebrated Max Rheinhardt Troupe. After his service in the First World War, he appeared for the next three years at the Munich Kammerspiele. He starred in Bertolt Brecht’s debut play, Drums in the Night as freakshow landlord Glubb.
Nosferatu, was his second film and he worked regularly on German stage and screen until his death. In 1924, he collaborated with Murnau for a second time in Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs with little success. His final role on stage was as The Grand Inquisitor in the play, Don Carlos. He was married to the actress Fanny Normann. His performance as Graf Orlock was publicly applauded by Lon Chaney, ‘the man of a thousand faces’, and his impact on the story of Dracula, indeed, on the whole horror genre, is undeniable.
The image of Count Orlock has been revived twice by moviemakers: in Werner Herzog’s remake Nosferatu, the Vampyre with Klaus Kinski irritatingly named Count Dracula, and Salem’s Lot with Reggie Nalder as Kurt Barlow, both 1979.
Over the years, the name, Schreck (“terror” in German), has been used to add an oddness to many a screen villain. Peter Cushing posed as Tarot-reading devil Dr Schreck in Amicus’ creepy debut anthology horror, Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965) and Christopher Walken’s Maximillian Schreck would cause no end of trouble for Michael Keaton’s caped crusader in Batman Returns (1992).
In 1969, the surname Orlock would be allocated to Boris Karloff as an ageing horror star in Peter Bogdanovich’s disturbing take on the Charles Whitman killings, Targets. In 2000, Max Schreck himself became the star of Shadow of the Vampire. This inventive black comedy follows the hypothetical story of the actual filming of Nosferatu, with John Malkovitch as an obsessed Murnau, promising his leading lady to the vampire if he will act in his movie. Schreck turns out to be a real vampire, played by Willem Dafoe, in a performance that has to be seen to be believed.
Though a little creaky at times, Nosferatu is the only film that plays on Stoker’s original theme of invasion and delivers in all areas. It Is still very watchable and is well deserving of the term “classic.”
DRACULA (1931: Universal Pictures, USA)
Director: Tod Browning
When the Hamilton Deane/John L. Balderston play was optioned for filming by Universal in 1930, the obvious choice to play the first official screen Dracula had been silent superstar Lon Chaney. I predict that the actor would have thrown away the stage bound script and would have gone back to the literary source as he had done with his Quasimodo and Erik, Gaston Leroux’s mad maestro, in his previous successes for the studio.
Dracula’s description is a make-up artist’s wet dream and Chaney would have risen to the challenge. Having already played a vampire of sorts in the silent London After Midnight (1927), Chaney had left a tantalising blueprint which speculated as to how he would look as the Count. With Tod Browning standing in as director, it is accurate to assume that Chaney would have ran with the whole show and he would have utilised his amazing vocal talents to imitate the Count’s “strange intonation” spoken about by Jonathon Harker in the book.
And why not the same with Van Helsing’s dialect? Possibly just more conjecture on my part, but, after his mimicry and ventriloquism as the disguised transvestite in The Unholy Three (1930), plus his two previous roles in Midnight, isn’t it fair to assume that the actor would stretch the same boundaries with Dracula and portray both the lead roles? The speculation of the possibilities are limitless.
Alas, we will never know as Lon Chaney would succumb to throat cancer just over a month before filming was to begin, leaving the world in mourning and Browning scrambling around in the dark with an unknown leading man, the finished product betraying more creaks than Dracula’s coffin lid.
As the synopsis above shows, a scene-by-scene recording of the film would be pointless. The script allows everything to be acted out in a succession of similar shots that become tiring through their predictability. All the cast seem to be trapped on one stage following the eerie set of opening sequences. The Castle is a grand design and does lend an atmospheric air to the proceedings. The large hall is welcoming enough and Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi play out their scenes with just the right touch of camp. The brides silently prowl around and promise real menace that, sadly, is never delivered. Karl Freund’s excellent camerawork complements the tension admirably, working manfully to make sense of the film’s theme that is obviously misunderstood by the director.
The arrival of the Vesta is treated with a convincing storm (the footage taken from Universal’s The Storm Breaker: 1925), and news items inform us of the eventual landing in Whitby. Renfield is incarcerated and should really have the key thrown away.
But when Dracula dons his top hat and walks down the Broadway version of a London street, the film loses any credibility that it might have otherwise possessed. A Cockney
flower seller, born in the US of A, succumbs to Dracula’s rape unexpectedly. Off-screen horrors are explained away in long snatches of dialogue. Van Helsing appears and, a plus for the film, is the perfect physical embodiment of Stoker’s imagination. But the film falls apart when comedy relief intervenes in the shape of Charles Gerrard’s bemused orderly who states that “…everyone is crazy!”.
After Lon Chaney’s untimely death, contracted B movie artists like Ian Keith, Paul Muni, Conrad Veidt and Victor Jory were tentative choices to play Count Dracula. Veidt was the genre’s first star after his appearance in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) and Victor Jory had toured with the play alongside Lugosi, interestingly made up to resemble Count Orlok in Nosferatu.
As fate would have it, Bela Lugosi received the part that would haunt him to the grave. He isn’t romantic but he does have an otherworldly feel about him. He has no fangs and uses hypnotism from a distance to put his victims into a slumber before slowly sneaking up and biting their necks. He doesn’t bother to hide his identity with a muffler like other Counts when he meets Renfield at the Borgo Pass.
He sneers condescendingly at his guest, drugging him with wine, before making him his slave. Renfield begs his Master to keep ambiguously confusing promises as they travel to England. We know, by Lugosi’s expression, that he won’t. His opening scenes with the lunatic are the best in the film, and have been quoted as such, time and time again, alas, apart from Karl Freund’s excellent camerawork, not for the right reasons.
This Count is the equivalent of a 1930s bad guy. He goes after what and who he wants without worrying about the effect it will have on others. He is lonely and is attracted to Lucy because of her similar interest in all things morbid. She finds him fascinating, as he does of himself. What a victim! Someone to hand out constant praise to him in the next thousand years or so.
For the movie-going public however, Lugosi was Dracula and Dracula was Lugosi. No other actor has ever been so closely identified to his fictional character on screen. Shorn of Stoker’s historical background, he very quickly becomes relegated to a place found in B movie hokum. In the film, his vampire is utilised unimaginatively as a peripheral bogeyman and is even robbed of a decent death scene, – the only clue we get to his demise is a low, off screen moan. In the 1936 re-issue of the film, even these moans were censored as being too horrific.
His runaway success with Dracula entitled Lugosi to pick and choose his next roles. Turning down Frankenstein’s monster in James Whale’s masterpiece, inadvertently making an international star of Boris Karloff, he opted instead to hammer nails into his own cinematic coffin by taking on the part of Dr Mirakle in Robert Florey’s now obsolete footnote, Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932). It would be another five years later that Bela Lugosi would play a vampire in the interesting remake of the Browning/Chaney vehicle, London after Midnight.
Mark of the Vampire (1935), again directed by Browning, cast Lugosi as an actor who
portrays the mute vampire Count Mora, hired as a confusing plot device to trap a killer. The best Lugosi vampire movie is the wartime pot boiler The Return of the Vampire (1944) made by Columbia and directed by Lew Landers.
He played Dracula, for the second and final time in Charles Barton’s Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein (1948).
Dwight Frye is the classic Renfield of the cinema. He isn’t the best, but he is the most quoted amongst aficionados as the most memorable, playing out Harker’s scenes at the village, amid national costume wearing peasants, and later becoming mystified by Dracula’s use of the English language.
He informs the villagers that he is bound for Castle Dracula, then swears blind that he has kept his journey secret when questioned by the Count himself. He intones that he has been loyal many times, but it is never explained in just what way. At the asylum, he goes overboard becoming the caricature that is played out by impressionists across the world. Using Stoker’s dialogue regularly out of context, he chews the scenery unforgivably, and it is understandable that he would get on the Count’s nerves. He infuriates everyone around him and becomes a tiresome double act with the unfunny Martin. You actually feel like applauding when Dracula takes him by the throat and throws him down the stairs.
Two years later, Frye would repeat the role under the name Herman Gleib, in the independent thriller, The Vampire Bat (1933), and continue starring in horror films, most notably as Fritz, the hunchback assistant in Frankenstein (1931); but generally as a non-plussed villager, for the next ten years until his death from a massive heart attack. His final film being Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man (1943). Rock star Alice Cooper would pay homage to the actor in his song, The Ballad of Dwight Fry, unconsciously dropping the ‘e’ and reverting it to the original spelling.
With Van Helsing, Dracula finds a worthy opponent in the form of Edward Van Sloan. Physically and grammatically correct, with a great first line in dialogue, his Professor is doggedly set on finding and destroying the vampire. So intense is he in his work, that he bullies victims into revealing their stories, losing the bedside charm of his literary counterpart and subsequent movie Van Helsings. He confides in people that will listen, constantly explaining his theories to a gullible Dr Seward, who follows him around lapdog fashion as he drones incessantly on. He uses wolfbane instead of the usual garlic flowers. He talks of the puncture wounds on the victim’s necks, but we never see them. His will is strong when tested by the hypnotic powers of the Count – interestingly, Dracula doesn’t hypnotise Renfield, but drugs him with a bottle of wine; the hypnotism seems to only work on the women.
Van Helsing is thoughtful, as he never opens the second box at Carfax until Harker is out of the way, so that he won’t see his beloved Mina laid out in the casket. Unfortunately, he is also forgetful. Throughout the film, Van Helsing has curiously carried crosses and large amounts of wolfbane to repel his vampires. When he finds Dracula’s resting place
however there isn’t a stake or hammer in sight. He has to send Harker hunting for a stone while he breaks up another wooden casket! Once he has his makeshift stake, he spares the audience any further horrors by staking the Count off screen. His final appearance at the film’s climax was a device that would be used again as he introduced the horrors of Frankenstein in a similar manner for James Whale.
A story has circulated over the years – and I hope that it is true – that when casting around for the part of Dracula’s nemesis in the stage play, producer Horace Liveright had chanced upon Van Sloan in a New York production of Schweiger by Hans Werfel and, standing up in the theatre, pointed at the nervous actor proclaiming:
“That’s him! That’s the man to play Van Helsing!”.
Edward Van Sloan would continue playing learned Professors for the remainder of his career. He died, typecast by the role of Van Helsing, in 1964.
David Manners plays the intense John Harker. Earning three times more money than Lugosi, he doesn’t have much to do, except walk around looking decidedly cheesed off – maybe because the writer has already given his scenes to Renfield? He is described as “normal”, by Mina and watches on the sidelines as Van Helsing constantly pushes him to one side while trying to bully his fiancée into explaining everything she can recall concerning the Count’s activities. No one asks Harker’s opinions on anything. When he does get to talk to Mina, he is interrupted by a flapping bat; Mina telling him that their life together is over; and finally, her expression changing considerably, attacking him off screen. The sounds he makes – a low, wailing, “No, Mina, nooo!” – seem to imply all kinds of unimaginable horror off screen, but is undercut by Browning’s heavy-handed direction yet again.
Van Helsing saves the day with his trusted crucifix and has the gall to recruit Harker over Seward, to track Dracula to his lair at Carfax. Once there, Van Helsing takes charge again, leaving Harker little to do except run around the cellar, ineffectually calling out the name of his fiancée. However, as with all Hollywood romances, he does walk away with the girl at the end. He co-starred with Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the strange satanic thriller, The Black Cat (1934) – as another useless love interest, his career destined to become obsolete.
Mina Seward is the only role that Helen Chandler would be remembered for; which is unfortunate as, apart from a scene where she eyes David Manner’s throat malevolently, she also has very little to do except talk and cry. Her dialogue explains scenes that we never see. For example, she states that “he opened a vein in his arm and forced me to drink!”, describing Dracula’s advances. She confesses meeting an undead Lucy: “I started to speak to her, and then I remembered she was dead!”- even though, she never seems to leave Dr Seward’s sanitarium. Only Van Helsing is able to understand her fear of the crucifix, which she cowers from at every opportunity, and punctuates her abhorrence with a scream.
Ms Chandler’s life was more eventful off-screen as she destroyed her chances of fame through dependencies on pills and alcohol with many overnight stays in mental institutions. She was married several times and one of her husbands, Bramwell Fletcher, had appeared as the Renfield character in Karl Freund’s The Mummy (1932). While hospitalised, she was constantly dogged by letters and telephone calls from someone who claimed to be Bramwell Fletcher. She died in 1965 and was cremated; her ashes were never claimed.
Frances Dade plays Lucy, a character who has a strange temperament and loses herself in morbid fantasies. Quoting poems about death to captive audiences sets her up as the Count’s first victim and I found myself wishing that she’d had more screen time. The still showing Lugosi creeping towards a slumbering Lucy would become one of the most iconic images in pop culture. Like co-star Helen Chandler, this is the only film that the 19 year old would be remembered for.
Herbert Bunston has a great sounding name, but, as Dr Seward, he is the first actor to play the ineffectual, doddery old man. He discovers the marks on Lucy’s throat and is happy when dotty, old Van Helsing ventures his diagnosis, no matter how outlandish it sounds. He owns the asylum, but none of the inmates take notice of his carefully lowered voice used to calm down mischief-makers. When Van Helsing tracks Dracula to Carfax, he doesn’t even bother to ask Seward if he wants to come along for the big stake-o! At the asylum, Seward is the only one who has been listening to the Professor’s psychobabble claptrap, but he’s dropped like a hot potato as the Prof delivers the final coup de grace, preferring the company of sceptic wimp, John! Unlike his female colleagues, Mr Bunston wouldn’t be remembered at all.
One final thought: was the opera a double date? Mina and John – and Seward and Lucy? It really doesn’t bear thinking about. I have to say that even if I had seen this film on its first run, I would have been incredibly disappointed. I just can’t believe the claims that nurses waited in attendance in case audience members took a nasty turn – although there is the thought of that double date. After cuts ordered by the censor it runs for 76 minutes, but it seems double that because of its very funereal pace and lack of any kind of musical score. Why have Lugosi climbing out of his coffin at all, if the camera was going to constantly avoid it? Attacks on the two sleeping girls are exact composites of the selfsame scene: girl in bed; bat at window; girl asleep; Dracula in bedroom getting into famous predatory crouch; moves towards bed; fade.
Then we have a drawing room scene. Renfield. A scene on the terrace. Renfield. A drawing room scene. Renfield. I’m asleep.
I can only say that Tod Browning’s crew, particularly Karl Freund – who cheekily remade the film a year later as The Mummy (check it out, it’s worth it) – must have been very patient indeed. It is this film script that Mel Brooks chose to parody for his dismal, Dracula: Dead and Loving it (1995), starring Leslie Nielson.
Unable to bracket Dracula, Universal waited five years before filming a sequel, Lambert
Hillyer’s more atmospheric Dracula’s Daughter, which dropped the Count completely in aid of a wax dummy after giving Lugosi a pay-off. Only Edward Van Sloan returned from the original cast as Professor Van Helsing.
Accounts have been given that Bela Lugosi wished to repeat his most famous role of Dracula in colour, using the interesting cinematic concept 3D in the 1950s. After living with a curse far worse than vampirism, he became a hopeless alcoholic and drug addict, he died on August 16th 1956, effectively closing the book on the first chapter of the Count’s story on film, and was buried in his Dracula cape.