It’s another Saturday matinee scare-fest as I continue my exploration of Vampires in the cinema while i continue my enjoyable journey through John Landis’ Monsters in the Movies, available now from DK Canada.
There are problems and monsters a plenty in House of Dracula, a rather short entry into the Universal Monsters Series. Clocking in at just over an hour, the film features a mustachioed John Carradine as Dracula, a similarly mustachioed Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot, better known as The Wolf Man, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s Monster.
Everything comes together at Dr. Edlemann’s (Onslow Stevens), who doesn’t quite seem to be a mad scientist, but he’s working in a castle, in a remote European town, and has a nurse, Nina (Jane Adams) with a hunchback… so he’s primed to become one.
Both Dracula and Talbot arrive in their own time on Edlemann’s doorstep to seek his help in curing their respective curses. And Edlemann may be just the man to do it.
But when he is infected with Dracula’s blood, he becomes deranged (mad?) and seeks to restore the Frankenstein Monster to life (just in time for the villagers at the end of the film) while also seeking to cure Talbot, and Nina – who despite his intentions gets a rather horrid send off that is barely mentioned or blinked at during the climax.
This one is sheer matinee fare, the less discerning kiddies probably ate it up, while others were probably upset that Lugosi wasn’t Dracula, and who was this John Carradine fella anyway?
There’s a lot going on in the film’s short run time, and almost all of it silly, but it’s very cool to see three of the big monsters share the screen together, even if they are never all on at the same time.
It also makes me want to watch Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein again…
Neither the Frankenstein Monster or Dracula are given much to do in this one. Despite the title, this is more of a Wolf Man story, and turns Talbot into a bit of a hero, and maybe even gets the girl at the end…
I will say this for it though. It’s a fun one, just watching it conjures images of a yesteryear I never even got to take part in – I can just imagine a group of pals riding their bikes to the theatre, getting their popcorn and sodas, their candies, and just settling in for an afternoon of entertainment, before spilling back out onto the street, playing for the day, and talking about who would win in a fight, Dracula or Wolf Man.
(Apparently I need to watch Stand By Me again too, as this sounds very familiar to me).
The vampires I meet in the cinema aren’t all going to be winners, and they aren’t all going to stand the test of time, but they are going to be interesting…
Check out DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies by director John Landis and venture into the dark for scares, laughs, and more!