As a teenager, I was a vampire freak. (No pun intended.) I read my Anne Rice, watched my Buffy and Angel, and obsessed over Dark Shadows.
But there’s no escaping Dracula. I’m sorry Gary Oldman, but Bela Lugosi is Dracula. The looks, the voice, and the awesomely bad eye lighting. You say Dracula, I say Bela Lugosi.
This movie is gold. A departure from Bram Stoker’s letters and journal entries, Dracula takes the audience directly into the arrival and hunt for the blood thirsty count. Can you believe Universal Studios didn’t originally want Bela Lugosi for the part? Bela Lugosi was their last resort. He had played the part on stage, but they didn’t care. He was a foreigner and he was an unknown. They paid him dirt for this role. But he took it. He took it because I think even he realized that he was made for this part.
Unlike Lon Chaney Jr. who played the Wolf Man in every movie made, Lugosi only donned Dracula’s cape perhaps two or three times. Yes, he played vampires again, but it wasn’t Dracula. Oh, and those Ed Wood films. Not Dracula. Right.
On a funny note, story has it that at Lugosi’s funeral, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre were present and during the service, Lorre leaned over to Price and whispered: “Do you think we should stake him? Just in case?”