Saturday, October 8, 2011

Phil's Horror Watch, Day 6: Phil watches DRACULA (1931)-October 6, 2011

Welcome back to day six of my horror movie marathon! Tonight's film is ranked as one of the most important horror films of all time. When the film was released in 1931, it caused a sensation at the boxoffice, and thus launched the Universal Horror film series. Directed by the legendary Todd Browning and starring the great Bela Lugosi, DRACULA is the quintessential vampire movie, a movie that is still talked about to this very day.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1931)
This film cemented the look, the mannerism, and the voice of the vampire. Lugosi is the personification of Dracula, and to this day whenever someone dresses up like a vampire, or says a line from the film, it is in Lugosi's voice. But believe it or not, Lugosi wasn't going to be cast as the famed creature of the night.

Silent film actor Lon Chaney, star of THE HUTCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT had made a series of films with famed cult director Todd Browning for Universal Pictures. Browning's next project for studio was DRACULA and he was going to cast his friend for the lead role. However, on August 26, 1930, Chaney died from a throat hemorrhage.

Lugosi created the role of Dracula on the Broadway stage and became a sensation. However, Universal originally didn't want Lugosi to portray the Count, but the studio gave him a test screening and eventually he was cast in the lead. The film was released on Valentine's Day in 1931.The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.

If you have never seen this film, then you must go watch it now. This film launched the Universal Horror Movie cycle, to which a plethora of classic horror films were made, including FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, THE WEREWOLF, and THE CREATURE OF THE BLACK LAGOON. Also with the recent vampire trend that is currently taking place, none of it would exist if not for the success of DRACULA. And thanks to Lugosi and Browning, Universal became the House of Horror.

DRACULA is currently available on DVD and can be purchased at the Amazon website. Visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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