Dracula (1931)

TSPDT Greatest Films #835 Dracula (Tod Browning, 1931)

From one of the best director of Horror films, Tod Browning, the greatest horror novel of all time comes alive with the best impersonnator of the greatest vampire!

The story, if you haven't seen it or read it already, tells how the count Dracula moves from his home castle in Transylvania to London to breed on fresh blood and young victims. He seems to have a sort of taste for young women. The interpretations of this book are wide and some are very personal or extravagant. My view on it is that the count Dracula is the tempation, evil, well the devil himself. He represents the beast that wants to fornicate with the young women and spoiled them. They seem to fall under his charm when they discover the charm of the flesh (love). The fangs that penetrate the necks of his victims are the symbolization of the phallic penetrating the victims.

The problem for some people with this theory is that Dracula has male victims too. Well, how choking evil was it to have homo-erotic symbols in the time Dracula was written or even in 1931? Dracula symbolizes the immorality of the joys of flesh and the dark side of every human being: if you get Dracula's bite everyone can get his urges to feed on "blood"!

Tod Browning's adaptation is well executed and maintains the core of Bram Stocker's story but compared to Nosferatu (Murnau 1922, Herzog 1978) Horror of Dracula (Terrence Fisher, 1958) and even Coppola's cheesy Bram Stocker's Dracula it handles the road only because of the prensence of Bela Lugosi. For most, he is Dracula and even him thought he was him for a while in his life... But comparion is good the determine which movie is better than the other. However, on every level, especially Karl Freund's photography, Tod Browning's Dracula is a must see!

A review by Michaël Parent

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