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Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1- Dracula (1931)

       Nothing says Halloween quite like Transylvania and Count Dracula. As the first sound horror film by Universal Studios, as well as the first official adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel, this movie was quite an accomplishment for its time and has a storied place in movie history.

       First off was the portrayal of the Count by Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi. Lugosi was given the role of Dracula for two reasons. 1. The person originally cast for the part, Lon Chaney Sr., the horror icon of the silent era, died in 1930 from throat cancer, and 2. Lugosi had been portraying the character on stage in the American production of Dracula. Lugosi's portrayal of the legendary character, including his Eastern European accent and his overall charismatic nature as Dracula has become the mold for every person to play the character since.

Edward Van Sloan as Professor Van Helsing
Dwight Frye as Renfield
Besides Lugosi,great performances were given by Dwight Frye, who plays the maniacal Renfield, a man who becomes a slave to Dracula's will, and Edward Van Sloan, who plays the legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing.

      Other aspects that makes this movie great is its place in history. Being the first sound horror movie, Dracula seems to fall during the transitional period between the silent era and the era of "talkies." This can be noticed by the lack of a soundtrack during the film, except for the opening credit sequence. The lack of background music would normally hamper a movie, but in this case, it only adds to the creepy atmosphere of the world in which the movie takes place.Even over 80 years later, this movie still stands as one of the most important horror films ever made, and is definitely a film to watch for any person interested in not just classic horror movies, but classic movies in general. Truly a classic.

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