Monday, June 1, 2009

House of Dracula (1945)

5th in the Dracula series.
7th in the Frankenstein series.
4th in the Wolf Man series.

Dracula wants to cure him vampirism.  He seeks help from Dr. Edelman.  Dracula can not fight his urge to feed, however.  He ends up putting the beautiful nurse under his thrall and during a blood transplant, he injects Dr. Edelman with his own contaminated blood.  Dr. Edelman then starts to become a vampire himself!

During this, Lawrence Talbot has come to visit Dr. Edelman.  Talbot wants Edelman to cure his lycanthropy.  When Dr. Edelman tells Talbot that a procedure this soon would be useless, Talbot tries to kill himself.  He jumps into the ocean and ends up in a cave.  Edelman then goes into the cave to save Talbot and there they find the Frankenstein Monster.  After a successful surgery to cure Larry, Dr. Edelman focuses on bringing the monster back to full power.

"House of Dracula" is the second film in the "House" series.  "House of Frankenstein" is the better of the two, but this film does have good stuff in it.  The best thing about the film is the Wolf Man story line.  Even though Lon Chaney is only the Wolf Man for a short time in the film, it is still fun to see him.  His transformation in the jail cell is one of the best werewolf transformations to date.  When Talbot is finally cured, you really feel great for him.  His character had been through so much since the first film.  All hope had failed him to that point.  When the full moon rises and nothing happens to Talbot, you almost want to cheer for joy.

I've never been that crazy about the John Carridine Dracula, but he has his moments.  His best scene is when he controls the nurse to play a song on the piano that she has never heard before.

The Frankenstein Monster doesn't do much in this film.  When he is finally revived, he just walks around the laboratory, then parishes in the flames of a fire.  The ending uses footage from the ending of "Ghost of Frankenstein".  A cheap way to do a climax, but they didn't think people would notice back then.

Onslow Stevens gives a great performance as Dr. Edelman.  He is basically playing a version of Jekyll and Hyde.  He does it well.  The scene on the carriage and the chase through the village are both very exciting and well shot.  The use of shadows makes the scene extra special.

This is the last film for these monsters, not counting "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein".  It was a good way for them to go out.  It might not be the best movie, but it sure is a fun time!

B  I recommend it.

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