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House of Dracula

House of Dracula movie poster
Directed by Erle C. Kenton
Produced by Paul Malvern
Written by Edward T. Lowe Jr.
Starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Carradine
Martha O'Driscoll
Glenn Strange
Onslow Stevens
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) December 7, 1945 (U.S. release)
Running time 67 min
Language English
Preceded by House of Frankenstein (1944)
Followed by Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

House of Dracula was an American horror film released by Universal Pictures Company in 1945. It was a direct sequel to House of Frankenstein and continued the theme of combining Universal's three most popular monsters: Frankenstein's monster, Count Dracula and The Wolf Man. The film was a commercial success, but would also be one of the last and final Universal movies featuring Frankenstein's monster, vampires and werewolves: after 1945, horror moved toward science fiction, Cold War paranoia, and the Hiroshima syndrome of super science creating its own monsters, themes which would be the hallmarks of 1950's horror and sci-fi movies.

Plot

The main plot is that Dracula and Larry Talbot are both seeking a cure for their respective monster afflictions from Dr. Edelmann (Onslow Stevens).

Dracula actually appears to be searching for a cure for his vampirism. Somehow Dracula survived his destruction by sunlight exposure from the previous film House of Frankenstein and initially seeks to be cured of his vampirism at the hands of the doctor as he seems apparently tired of his monster nature. But after re-meeting the doctor's beautiful assistant whom he knew in his alias of "Baron Latos", Dracula's monsterous nature reasserts itself and infects Edelmann through a blood transfusion of his vampire blood, which turns Edelmann into a Jekyll and Hyde like creature. Though Edelmann succeeds in destroying Dracula, Edelmann realizes that he is slowly degrading into a murderous monster himself.

Lawrence Talbot soon arrives at Edelmann's castle, seeking a cure for the curse that turns him into a werewolf (As with Dracula, his return from destruction dealt at the end of the previous entry is not explained, but his recuperative ability via moonlight has already been established in the earlier Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man). The Frankenstein Monster plays a minor role in this film, only being found during Talbot's attempt at suicide by drowning in the ocean late in the film. The Monster does not actually go into action until almost the climactic finish, which results in Talbot finally being cured of his affliction and falling in love with Edelmann's attractive assistant, Miliza Morrelle (Martha O'Driscoll) and killing the Hyde like version of Edelmann. The Frankenstein Monster is burned to death in yet another fire destruction of the castle he is in.

Production

Also appearing in the film is Jane Adams, whose character, Nina, is a hunchback and was thus billed as one of the monsters in the film. In fact, her character is portrayed sympathetically and the use of an attractive actress to play an otherwise misshapen individual is notable for the time.

Although Glenn Strange appears as the Monster in most of the film, footage of Chaney as the Monster from The Ghost of Frankenstein and Boris Karloff from Bride of Frankenstein was recycled. In the Ted Newsom documentary "100 Years of Horror", Carradine suggested his portrayal of Dracula was meant to reflect the description of the character in the 1897 Bram Stoker novel. Universal only agreed upon Carradine having a thin moustache.

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