was founded by John Gabbard in 2000. It's purpose has been and
remains to be to provide you, the entertainment community with
the latest dvds and movie reviews. It will continue to be your
link to the most popular dvd movies.
The Legacy Collection"
1.33:1 Black and White
2.0 (mono) and 5.1 Surround Mix for Philip Glass music score
||By film historian
David Skal on "Dracula"
|| "The Road
|| Original theatrical
score for "Dracula" by Philip Glass; Introduction to Spanish
"Dracula" by star Lupita Tovar; original posters, photo gallery
Helen Chantler, Dwight Frye Lon Chaney, Jr., Evelyn Ankers,
John Carradine, Onslow Stevens, Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger,
Edward Van Sloan, Carlos Villaris, Lupita Tovar
John L. Balderston, Hamilton Deane, Baltasar Ferandez Cue, Edward
T. Lowe, Jr.
Jr, Paul Malvern
Lambert Hilyer George Melford, Enrique Tovar Alovas Erle C.
William Lava, Heinz Roemheld
Whether it be sinking his teeth
into another victim or having a stake driven through his heart,
Bram Stoker's character Dracula continues to fascinate even
today. First adapted in 1921 (illegally)as the German film
"Nosferatu", the source material allowed Z-Movie producers
and directors to churn out dozens of bad movies. None of these
films, though, have ever quite captured the audience impact
of the original English version starring Bela Lugosi. Lugosi,
in fact, played the role so well he was typecast in horror
films despite his training on the stage in his native Hungary.
Lugosi played in films on one other occasion for "Abbott and
Costello Meet Frankenstein". The role made his career and
pushed him into the ghetto of horror films for years to come.
Despite Todd Browning's stilted
and static direction, the 1931 English version of "Dracula"
can still be occasionally effective and creepy. Luckily, though,
the Spanish language version gets the royal treatment as well.
Shot at the same time on a swing shift schedule, this version
surpasses Browning's and provides far more serious chills
despite the limitations of the time. With an entirely different
cast and director, the Spanish version looks markedly different
from Browning's film with a number of notable sequences that
were better shot and edited. ***
Also included is the blood relation
"Dracula's Daughter". The film focuses on a Countess who continue
the family tradition of blood letting. The imaginative sequel
was suggested by David O. Selznick (under a nom de plume)
and Stoker's story "Dracula's Guest". The direction by Hilyer
provides subtle pleasures but lacks the fire that a James
Whale or Robert Siodmak might have given it. ***
The Dracula franchise lay dormant
until Robert Siodmak's fine "Son of Dracula" with Lon Chaney,
Jr. taking on the Count. Chaney gives a pretty solid although
mannered performance. What matters, though, is Siodmak's atmospheric
direction and the fine production design produced on a very
small budget. With a solid script from Siodmak's brother Curt
(who also wrote a number of other Universal horror films),
"Son of Dracula", despite its limited budget, comes across
much more effectively than later the first film and the last.
Finally we get "House of Dracula"
the grand finale for the Universal horror monsters (with the
exception of the Mummy and the Invisible Man). Overcoming
a low budget and the franchise formula, "House of Dracula"
has its moments. Although the horrible trio would appear in
one more film ("Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein") this
really became their sawn song. Onslow Stevens plays a scientist
who believes he can cure both Dracula (John Carradine) and
the Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) of their afflictions. Unfortunately,
Dracula insists continuing with his deep hickeys and sucking
blood for a living. Believing that science, not superstition,
will save his patients he cures the Wolfman. When the doctor
tries to cure Dracula using his own blood for transfusions,
Dracula taints the good Dr.'s blood with his own turning him
into a mad scientist. The Dr. remains in control long enough
to put Dracula out of everyone's misery but then turns revives
the Frankenstein Monster long enough to raise havoc. ---
All five films look particularly
sharp although I was most impressed by the restoration done
for the Spanish version of "Dracula". The image sharpness
and resolution turned out to be much better than I expected
given the age of the films involved. The black and white cinematography
occasionally looks a bit muddy but, again, that's probably
due more to the source of the films than the actual transfer
The outstanding, unusually creepy
Philip Glass score lends extra atmosphere to Browning's 1931
"Dracula". This isn't anything new, though, as it was available
on the previous DVD edition of the film. The sound varies
quite a bit from average to pretty good depending on the age
of the film and the restoration of the soundtrack improves
the clarity of the sound for most of the movies. ---
The documentary "On The Road to
Dracula" actually appeared on a previous DVD edition of "Dracula"
so it's nothing new although it's a welcome addition to this
set. We get quite a few vintage and more recent interviews
including the grandson of Dwight Frye (who played Renfield
in the 1931 Lugosi version of "Dracula"), Bela Lugosi, Jr.
on the legacy and difficulties faced by his father particularly
later in life when his addiction to morphine helped derail
the rest of his career. Including film historians such as
Skal and MacQueen on the impact of "Dracula" had on audiences,
the film industry and the performers provides insight into
a world long gone. It's a pity that Universal chose not to
do any other featurettes about the remaining films as, no
doubt, their archives are filled with interesting production
notes and various versions of scripts. ***
We also get a glimpse behind the
scenes of Steven Sommers' reinvention of the Universal horro
monsters in the film "Van Helsing". The featurette will wet
fans appetite for Sommers' breezy feature. Although it's nothing
more than a glorified commercial , it's a pretty good one.
The inclusion of trailers for most
of the films also adds value particularly for those who value
older films. These trailers were melodramatic and wonderfully
over-the-top. They acted as the perfect enticement to kids,
teenagers and adults for these types of films. It's a lost
art and looking back at these trailers provides us with a
glimpse into the past. The photo gallery and original poster
art round out a set that has considerably less in the way
of extras compared to "Frankenstein: The Legacy Collection".
commentary track appears for the second time on this reissue
of "Dracula". I personally also would have liked to see Skal
provide a commentary track for the Spanish version of "Dracula"
as well as "Dracula's Daughter". Skal provides a number of interesting
insights and bits of trivia about the making of the film. ---
as ever, "Dracula" returns with four sibling films in hopes
that fans will fly out to purchase this second set. Including
the previously unavailable "House of Dracula", "Dracula: The
Legacy Collection" provides an entertaining alternative to the
living dead of reality television. The extras although leaner
than on the "Frankenstein" collection, are considerable considering
the price of the set.