|The cast of Dracula prepare for the soiree!|
During the post-Christmas sales, I was lucky enough to snap up the Blu-ray set of Universal Monsters - The Essential Collection at a bargain price. Those wonderful, old creature features never seem to be shown on Australian TV these days, so I'm really looking forward to enjoying a weekly monster movie with my family over the next 8 weeks. The first disc was the 1931 film, Dracula, and serendipitously, watching it has coincided with this year's Vampire's Day Soiree, hosted by Holly's Horrorland.
First of all, it has to be said, that this early incarnation of Dracula, directed by Tod Browning, and starring Bela Lugosi as the title character, is highly unlikely to terrify a contemporary audience. As we watched, my husband and I used the opportunity to explain to our son just how old the movie was and pointed out that certain effects, and some of the exaggerated and melodramatic gestures and expressions of the actors, were a hangover from the era of silent films.
In spite of the fact that they have little screen time and no dialogue, the imagery of Dracula's brides is particularly evocative and powerful. My father had a book on the history of vampires that was filled with screenshots from vampire movies and I would examine it endlessly as a child. I distinctly recall being both frightened and mesmerized by the photograph of the brides in Dracula's crypt.
And finally, I'll leave you with the cutest and kookiest moment of the movie, when, as the sun sets and Dracula awakens in his crypt, a wasp/bee emerges from its own little coffin.