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Saturday, August 20, 2011

House of Dracula (1945)

Just subtitle this one "Pretty Monsters with Problems."  No, wait, that's The Vampire Diaries on the CW Network.  This time out Universal brings back three iconic monsters to draw moviegoers into the theater.  First, there's Dracula, played this time by John Carradine who is a little bit better than Lon Chaney was in Son of Dracula (1943).  He's not happy being a blood sucking fiend so he turns to Dr. Franz Edelmann to help him find a cure.  Onslow Stevens [Them] is great as Dr. Edelmann and is especially good when he vamps out later in the film.  Personally, I think Bela Lugosi's Dracula beats everyone above by a mile.  Why they didn't ask him to star in this film is a mystery to me.
Second monster on board is The Wolf Man.  Thank you, Lon Chaney Jr for discarding your vampire cape and playing the role of the tortured Lawrence Talbot.  I SO love him in this role and he does not disappoint this time around.  Like his buddy Dracula, Talbot is also unhappy and looking for a cure.
Then, for some strange reason, Edelmann and Talbot find Frankenstein's monster in an underground cave and bring him into the story line.  [Enter monster number three.]  Glenn Strange plays the Monster this time instead of Karloff, but he has very little screen time and adds nothing to the storyline.  Strange would go on to reprise his role as the Monster in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).  However, his portrayal does not come close to Karloff's greatness in this role.
Add to this all star lineup Lionel Atwill as yet another police inspector and, my personal favorite, Nina, the hunchback nurse, and House of Dracula becomes quite an adventure.  Erie C, Kenton [House of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein] does a great job as director and Jack Pierce does his usual brilliant job with monster makeup.  While House of Dracula is not as classic as some of films these monsters originally appeared in, it is a thoroughly enjoyable movie nonetheless.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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