I am Dracula…I bid you welcome
Dracula is one of the best horror films ever made. This version with Bela Lugosi is my favorite; as I feel other versions either have subpar acting, a distortion of the story, or just fall flat in their presentation.
Bela Lugosi was never intended for the part of Dracula. Originally Lon Chaney was going to play him, but he died the year before. As much as I love Lon Chaney, I can’t see Dracula as anyone but Bela Lugosi.
I have to say that this film probably has the most remakes of all time. There’s House of Dracula, Dracula (1958), The Return of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Count Dracula, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Count Dracula’s Great Love, Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Dracula (1979), Love at First Bite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension, Dracula III: Legacy, Dracula’s Curse, Dracula 3000, The Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula (2006), Dracula 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Scooby-Doo & the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf . Not to mention all sequels or films that Dracula has a part in; this guy sure gets around.
Of course even with all of these, Lugosi’s version still stands the test of time. It is the one we quote, the one we mimic Lugosi’s voice from, the one that we copy the cape movements from; etc-the one that inspires us to pretend that we too are a vampire.
The film starts out with Renfield, a lawyer, going to Dracula’s castle. All the villagers warn him that there are vampires there, but Renfield doesn’t listen.
“Innkeeper: Castle Dracula?
Renfield: Yes. That’s where I’m going.
Innkeeper: To the castle?
Innkeeper: No. You musn’t go there. We people of the mountains believe in the castle there are vampires. Dracula and his wives – they take the form of wolves and bats. They leave their coffins at night and they feed on the blood of the living.”
Renfield ignores them and enters the castle, where he is greeted by Dracula and those famous lines! Some of my favorite.
“Count Dracula: I am Dracula.
Renfield: Oh, it’s really good to see you. I don’t know what happened to the driver and my luggage and… Well, and with all this, I thought I was in the wrong place.
Count Dracula: I bid you welcome. [Dracula goes up the stairs. Renfield starts to follow him. Suddenly, Dracula hears wolves howling] Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
[Dracula goes up the steps and waits for Renfield, who, without difficulty, cuts open a hole in a huge spider’s web using his walking stick]
Count Dracula: The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield.
Renfield: Why, er… yes.”
Renfield doesn’t make it out alive as Dracula ends up attacking him and turning him into his personal valet/assistant. Renfield becomes crazed as the slave of Dracula. The two travel to England, and when the ship docks only Renfield is left on the boat; everyone else is dead with their blood sucked out of them. Renfield is super looney, so he is taken to Dr. Seward’s sanitorium.
Later Dracula runs into Dr. Seward, his daughter Mina, Mina’s fiancé John Harker, and family friend Lucy Weston. Afterwards, Lucy becomes enamored of Dracula. And of course, that night Dracula visits her in her sleep and drinks out all her blood.
The next day Lucy is dead as no transfusion is able to save her.
Renfield is acting even crazier, and crazier; Professor Van Helsing is called to speak to him to try and help him work through his problems. As Van Helsing is the expert in vampires, and believes there is a vampire involved in this.
“Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly] “
Renfield further proves Van Helsing’s theory correct as he doesn’t like it when Van Helsing shows him wolfsbane; something that is able to stop vampires.
Later that evening Dracula attacks Mina; he doesn’t fully drain all her blood, but chooses to do it a little at a time as he doesn’t want to kill her hit make her his new bride (the previous wives didn’t come in the move).
Van Helsing also notices that Count Dracula doesn’t have a reflection and concludes he must be the main vampire and Reinfeld’s master.
Van Helsing puts a wreath of wolfsbane around Mina’s neck and tells her nurse not to remove it. He also gives Harker a cross and tells him to hold onto it; that it will protect him from harm of the vampires and to not to give it away under any circumstances.
Immediately Harker tries to give it to Mina and it doesn’t work.
DID YOU JUST NOT HEAR THE MAN? HE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! YOU KEEP IT!
I mean this is such a classic mistake made by men in these horror films. In The Mummy, he just has to give the girl the charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Wolf Man, he gives the girl the charm to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead he manifests into being a werewolf and almost kills her. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!!
Van Helsing confronts Dracula and tells him to leave Mina alone. Dracula tells him that it is too late, he has given Mina some of his blood and that she belongs to him. Van Helsing tells Dracula that he will hunt down his coffin and drive a stake through his heart no matter what.
“Count Dracula: Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula]
Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country.
Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.
Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived.
Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina’s soul if not her life.
Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night.
Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart.
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing]
Count Dracula: Come here.
[Van Helsing takes three hypnotised steps towards Dracula but soon steps back, resisting Dracula’s hypnotic power over him]
Count Dracula: Your will is strong, Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]
Count Dracula: More wolfsbane?
Van Helsing: More effective than wolfsbane, Count.
Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]”
Harker still hasn’t realized what is happening to Mina. He takes her out in the night, where she attacks him. Luckily, he is saved by Van Helsing who puts Mina in her room with wolfsbane. He tells the nurse to make sure that she does not remove it.
He and Harker leave to look for the coffin. They know it must be in the area as Dracula would never travel too far from it.
While they are gone, Dracula hypnotizes the nurse and has her remove the wolfsbane.
Dracula takes off with Mina, bringing her to his lair.
Harker and Van Helsing see him and follow; Harker wanting to save Mina while Van Helsing wants to destroy Dracula. Renfield manages to escape from his cell and follows them as well. But Renfield isn’t in the picture king as Dracula kills Renfield; thinking that he lead everyone to his lair. Eventually, Dracula is forced to return to his coffin as the sun is rising. When he does Van Helsing drives a stake through his heart and Harker goes to get Mina.
This film is truly amazing and I think you should check it out. It has influenced countless generations and really became the face and substance of who Dracula is.
This was one of Bela Lugosi’s favorite films and when he died he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.
So that’s today’s fearsome tale. More on the way.
Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.
To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World
To go to the previous post, go to It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!
For more on Dracula, go to A Monster Race
For more on vampires, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gyn Teacher
For more on Bela Lugosi, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies
For more films based on books, go to The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending
For more on Lon Chaney, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness
For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Camp Blood