Saturday, May 17, 2008

Movie of the Week: House of Dracula!

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Yes, this week's movie feature is House of Dracula, the sequel to House of Frankenstein! All three of the monsters return for this go-round, as they would in the next movie in the series, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."


trailer

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The main thrust of this movie's plot is that not only Larry Talbot, but Count Dracula, too, are seeking cures for their conditions! In this installment, Dr. Edelmann is the person they seek treatment from.

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It's Dracula's seeking to be cured of vampirism that makes this movie start to go downhill for me... Dracula tired of being a vampire? Unthinkable! Yeah, I can buy Drac somehow recovering from being destroyed by sunlight in "House of Frankenstein," (you know, you kind of have to), but seeking a cure? Being a vampire keeps him going!

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Anyway, Drac (who's assumed the identity of "Baron Lotos") apparently changes his mind, after meeting Dr. Edelmann's assistant again, and he gives the doc a transfusion of his own vampire blood, which turns Edelmann into a sort of Jekyll and Hyde creature!

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Edelmann destroys Dracula, but realizes he's becoming a monster himself.

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Fun behind-the-scenes photos

Yeah, that's right, Dracula's once again destroyed before the Wolfman or Frankenstein monster show up... I guess it wasn't until Abbott and Costello joined the fun that we'd see all three monsters together!

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Next, Larry Talbot arrives at Edelmann's castle to seek a cure (what are the odds?), and at one point, he tries to commit suicide, after which the Monster is found.

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The Monster itself doesn't do anything until close to the end, when Larry's finally cured (until the next movie) and falls in love with Edelmann's assistant (the same woman who apparently caused Drac to decide being a vampire isn't so bad after all), and killing Edelmann, who's now completely monstrous.

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Italian poster

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The Monster is once again burned to death as the castle is destroyed.

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Oh, the hunchback in the movie? It's Nina, a sympathetic character who's not a monster at all.

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Overall, as I said last week, it's the weakest of the "trilogy" of movies featuring all three of Universal's top monsters (the Mummy excluded). The final film in Universal's series, "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," pretty much ignores this movie entirely... it starts out with Larry still being a werewolf, and Dracula's actually using the Monster, whom he hadn't met before!

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One almost wonders... what if Universal had done one more movie after "House of Dracula," which showed why Larry was reverting back to being a werewolf, and set up how Dracula gained control of the Monster? What would they have even called it? "House of Wolfman" just sounds silly... I'd put my vote in for "Castle of Frankenstein", "Castle of Dracula," or better yet, "Curse of Dracula" (since "Curse of the Werewolf" was eventually used, wasn't it?).

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OK, as you no doubt expect, next week's feature will be... "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," which many people feel is the best of the Universal monster team-ups!

Jon

3 comments:

  1. I am an absolute fool for movies that combine the monsters, they can be of very poor quality and I'll watch them over and over. I just like the "Monster Super Team" concept.

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  2. Jon,
    Re: "Dracula tired of being a vampire? Unthinkable!"

    Well, not really. Remember the line "To be truly dead! That must be glorious!" in the 1931 Dracula? Then, of course, there's also Marya Zaleska's yearning to be free of the curse in 1936's "Dracula's Daughter".

    Personally, my interpretation was Baron Latos followed Miliza to the doctor's house and used his supposed search for a cure as a pretext to get her. Actress Martha O'Driscoll may be the link between this film and the next. She had appeared with Abbott & Costello in 1945's "Here Come the Co-eds" the same year. "Coeds" premiered in Feb and "House" in Dec.

    My biggest problem with this film was Frankenstein's monster. I'm not sure Glenn Strange worked in it at all. For 90% of the film he could be a mannequin strapped to a table. Then, when he's activated, it's mostly footage lifted from "Ghost of Frankenstein".
    Thanks!

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