House of Dracula
Cast & Crew
Erle C. Kenton
Lon Chaney [jr.]
Count Dracula arrives at the seaside Visarian home of Dr. Franz Edelman, a renowned surgeon, in hopes of finding a cure for his vampirism. After viewing Dracula's coffin and discovering an unknown parasite in his blood, the initially skeptical Edelman agrees to take the vampire's case. As Edelman begins his treatment of Dracula, Lawrence Talbot arrives at the castle and insists on seeing the surgeon. Turned away, Larry later transforms into a werewolf before the astonished eyes of Edelman, police inspector Holtz and Miliza Morelle, one of the surgeon's nurses. The next morning, Edelman offers to treat Larry with an experimental mold, but the werewolf jumps off a seaside cliff when he is told that he must wait until enough mold can be cultivated. That night, Edelman is lowered to sea-level in a boson's chair, where he rescues Larry from a cave and convinces him to live. Also found inside the cave is the Frankenstein Monster, encased in mud. Edelman begins to revive the creature, but is convinced to stop by Nina, his hunchbacked nurse. Meanwhile, Dracula becomes infatuated with Miliza and decides to remain a vampire. During his next blood transfusion, Dracula hypnotizes Edelman and Nina, then infects the surgeon with his own blood. Edelman and Nina awaken just in time to save Miliza from the vampire's lecherous clutches, and Dracula is killed when he is exposed to the sun's rays by Edelman. Realizing that he has become a vampire, Edelman offers to treat Nina immediately with the cultivated mold, but the nurse unselfishly insists that the surgeon cure Larry first. While recuperating from his treatment, Larry learns that a blood-thirsty Edelman has killed Zeigfried, one of his servants, but says nothing out of sympathy and gratitude. Larry then agrees to kill the physician should Edelman be unable to cure himself of his vampirism. Later, Larry walks out into the moonlight to discover that the treatment has been a success, while the vampire Edelman sneaks back into his laboratory and revives the Frankenstein monster. Edelman then kills Nina, forcing Larry to shoot and kill him. The monster chases after Larry, knocking over various chemicals and setting a fire in the laboratory. The police and villagers arrive just as Larry and Miliza flee and the monster and the castle are engulfed in flames.
Erle C. Kenton
Lon Chaney [jr.]
Joseph E. Bernard
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Bernard B. Brown
John P. Fulton
Russell A. Gausman
John B. Goodman
Arthur D. Leddy
Edward T. Lowe
Jack P. Pierce
Ronald K. Pierce
House of Dracula
In an attempt to correct the earlier picture's faults, which included a melange of pointless plotlines, scripter Edward T. Lowe, Jr. aimed for more coherence and even pathos in this story about a kindly doctor who tries to cure both Dracula and the Wolf Man (Chaney again) with disastrous results, climaxing in another brawl between Talbot and the monster.
Hulking former Western actor Glenn Strange once again stepped in as the Monster, although the film contains footage of other players in the role: Chaney himself and his double Eddie Parker in a fire scene borrowed from The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). Karloff can also be seen briefly as the Monster in a dream sequence using footage from Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
Strange wished someone else could have stepped in for him during the lengthy shooting of the sequence in which the Monster is found trapped in quicksand. The actor recalled that, after sitting for three hours each morning while his makeup was applied, he spent the rest of the day buried in cold liquid mud. He would have to remain there even when the rest of the cast and crew broke for lunch, and by the time they returned, it was so cold he could barely feel his legs. Chaney suggested alcohol to keep him warm and frequently passed him a bottle of whiskey. Strange said he was so drunk at the end of each day he could barely dress himself after getting out of the Monster costume and makeup. (Chaney's bottle is another story; a heavy drinker who was often difficult to work with, he was released from his Universal contract after completing House of Dracula.)
For a movie called House of Dracula, the Count is dispatched a little too quickly, and in fact, the house in question is not even his own, however much he makes himself at home in the basement. Carradine's conception of the character was a far cry from Lugosi's original, and actually stands up better in the eyes of many critics and fans. Dignified and soft-spoken, his Dracula was meant to be closer to author Bram Stoker's concept, an approach the actor insisted on when they asked him to play the part. He later told Fangoria magazine he wanted to play the character the way Stoker described him in his book, "as an elderly, distinguished gentleman with a big drooping mustache." Universal nixed the facial hair idea, forcing Carradine to sport a very clipped, British-looking one. "It wasn't really in character," he said. In addition to this movie and the earlier House of Frankenstein, he would appear as the famous vampire in Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966)--a title sure to spark something in those who think Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) was the first case of pitting bloodsuckers against historical figures--and the R-rated Nocturna (1979), in which he reportedly wore the costume he sports in House of Dracula.
There are actually two vampires in this film, the other being scientist Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens), a well-meaning doctor who undergoes a drastic Jekyll-Hyde transformation after his failed attempts to cure Dracula of his vampirism.
Another familiar face from horror movies is Lionel Atwill. He made a number of notable non-horror films, among them Captain Blood (1935), Three Comrades (1938), Von Sternberg's The Devil Is a Woman (1935), and the Lubitsch comedy To Be or Not to Be (1942). But Atwill is probably most associated with his roles in Doctor X (1932), The Vampire Bat (1933), Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), Man Made Monster (1941), and many others. During production, Atwill was already ill with the cancer that would kill him less than five months after this picture's release.
House of Dracula was the penultimate Universal all-star monster feature. The entire concept would be treated with comedy when Dracula, the Monster, and Talbot/The Wolf Man all returned to menace the famous comic duo in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). Strange and Chaney came back for their roles, and Universal got Lugosi on board once again as the Count.
True classic horror buffs will have a good time watching House of Dracula and picking out references, homages, and downright steals from a number of other pictures, including Dracula's Daughter (1936), Werewolf of London (1935), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (both the 1931 and 1941 versions). Even musical motifs will be recognizable as pastiches of earlier horror themes.
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Producers: Joseph Gershenson, Paul Malvern
Screenplay: Edward T. Lowe, Jr., story by Dwight V. Babcock and George Bricker (uncredited)
Cinematography: George Robinson
Editing: Russell Schoengarth
Art Direction: John B. Goodman, Martin Obzina
Makeup: Jack P. Pierce
Original Music: William Lava (uncredited)
Cast: Lon Chaney, Jr. (Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man), John Carradine (Dracula), Martha O'Driscoll (Miliza Morelle), Lionel Atwill (Inspector Holtz), Onslow Stevens (Dr. Franz Edelmann).
by Rob Nixon
House of Dracula
Shots of the Frankenstein Monster stumbling around the exploding laboratory at the film's climax were actually lifted from the film Ghost of Frankenstein, The (1942). In the long shots, stuntman Eddie Parker doubles for Lon Chaney Jr. (who played the Monster in that film).
The working titles of this film were The Wolf Man vs. Dracula and Dracula vs. Wolf Man. According to April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news items, Ford Beebe was originally assigned to produce and direct this film, with production planned for late October 1944. Modern sources report, however, that the script for the unrealized Beebe project May have differed greatly from the one used for this film. Following on the heels of the 1944 release House of Frankenstein , House of Dracula was the seventh Universal film to feature "Frankenstein's Monster," as well as the fourth Universal film to include the vampire "Dracula" and "Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man." Although all three characters appeared in the 1948 comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, this was the final Universal horror film to feature all three monsters. Lon Chaney had played Larry Talbot in all three previous Wolf Man films, and Glenn Strange made his second appearance as Frankenstein's Monster.
House of Dracula was also the second film in which actor John Carradine portrayed Dracula, a role he reprised in three later films: the 1966 Embassy Pictures release Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.0412), a 1969 Mexican film Las vampiras and the 1979 release Nocturna. Hollywood Reporter production charts include Charles Judels and Billy Green in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources credit George Bricker and Dwight V. Babcock with the story and add the following names to the crew credits: Stunts Walter DePalma, Arthur W. Stern and Carey Loftin. For additional information on the aforementioned Universal series noted above, please consult the Series Index and see the entries for Frankenstein (AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1465), Dracula (AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1121) and The Wolf Man .