Wednesday, October 03, 2012
31 Days of Dracula | John Carradine (1944)
Unlike Frankenstein, Dracula didn't get a lot of direct sequels at Universal. There was Dracula's Daughter in 1936 and Son of Dracula in '43, but neither featured the Count. Dracula's Daughter had Edward Van Sloan reprise his role as Van Helsing against a new threat; Son of Dracula stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as the title character.
It wasn't until 1944's House of Frankenstein - when Universal decided to put its three biggest monster stars in the same movie - that another Count Dracula was called for. I haven't been able to learn why Lugosi didn't return for it - he was clearly willing to do it for Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein - but for whatever reason, the role went to John Carradine for both House of Frankenstein and it's sequel, House of Dracula.
Carradine's difficult to get used to for those expecting a Lugosi-like Count, but he does have his charms. He's still cultured and refined, his tall, lanky frame is imposing, and he's got a great, deep voice. Of the three Dracula's we've looked at so far, he's probably the closest to Bram Stoker's description. It's too bad the two movies are so silly, but they're also a lot of fun. House of Frankenstein features Karloff's return to the series (as the mad scientist this time) and J. Carrol Naish (who appears in tonight's 50 Horror Classics movie) as his hunchbacked companion. House of Dracula is probably most notable for having a pretty, female hunchback.