Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941) & The Invisible Man (1933) Reviews

I did a bunch of “my favorite horror movies” lists in October & one was My Top Ten Pre-1970 Horror Movies. I’d commented that it was shameful I’d seen so few to be able to make that list and had seen none of the classic “monster” movies such as Dracula, etc. So I was very happy when the Horror Channel in the U.K. showed a bunch of them over Halloween weekend. Thanks to the family for letting me watch half of them, too! I haven’t updated that list with these yet as I’m not sure where to place them at this point but figured that I should at least try to write a little something about these classics even though it’s after Halloween…

Dracula (1931)

Directed by Tod Browning

Based on Dracula (novel) by Bram Stoker & Dracula (play) by Hamilton Deane & John L. Balderston

Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, a vampire who emigrates from Transylvania to England and preys upon the blood of living victims, including a young man’s fiancée.

My Opinion:

I don’t know where to start with these “reviews” as I’ve not watched enough classic horror to be able to easily discuss them. I’ll say that Dracula was easily my favorite of those I watched Halloween weekend. Bela Lugosi was great as Count Dracula. Loved his look and the mood of the start of the film in his creepy old castle in the fog & full of cobwebs. The whole thing just said traditional “Halloween” to me, so that was great. A proper vampire movie! Also, I noticed it was directed by Tod Browning who did the movie Freaks, which I absolutely adore & think is a fantastic film that was ahead of its time. So I was eager to see another Browning film.

Vampires aren’t usually my favorite when it comes to the typical “Halloween” monsters. As far as these type of movies go, it seems to be the zombie ones I like the most (thanks, George Romero!). So I wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be my favorite (I thought it would be Frankenstein). But Lugosi was so good & I loved seeing all the “vampire rules” played out, which I admittedly know best thanks to The Lost Boys. No “death by stereo” in Dracula, though! Ha!

Am so glad I finally watched this. I want to see all the Hammer Horror now too to compare, especially Dracula! Am guessing that just has more heaving bosoms. They loved heaving bosoms in old English movies. So between this Dracula, Nosferatu & my beloved The Lost Boys, maybe I do love vampires after all. It’s made me want to revisit Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula now as well. Or… maybe even read the book! Maybe. I did read Frankenstein recently. We’ll see!

My Rating: 8/10

Frankenstein (1931)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Frankenstein (novel) by Mary Shelley & Frankenstein (play) by Peggy Webling & John L. Balderston

Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff, Dwight Frye, Edward van Sloan, Frederick Kerr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Dr. Frankenstein dares to tamper with life and death by creating a human monster out of lifeless body parts.

My Opinion:

Unlike the rest, I do think I at least saw bits of this as a kid. I definitely remember the part with the girl. I forced myself to read this book during lockdown as I must admit I don’t read enough classics. Yes, I stick with Stephen King. I’m old, busy & tired. I’ll watch a serious film as it takes up less of my time but don’t have the energy to read War And Peace or some shit. Give me light entertainment for reading! I admit reading Frankenstein, with its 1818 language, was hard going. But I love the overall story. It’s damn good.

So I was expecting to like this movie the most but I think I ended up a bit disappointed as I didn’t realize how different it was from the book! I have no clue how close Dracula was to Stoker’s novel so that’s probably why I was able to just enjoy that movie as it is. Looks like Frankenstein was also partly based on a play adaptation? I was just kind of sad as I didn’t feel this movie captured the creature’s complex feelings & turned him into more of a monster while the flawed Victor Frankenstein character is hardly explored at all. But, hey – it’s a 1931 film. It’s still a horror classic & gave us the iconic “Frankenstein’s monster” look we now all associate with the character (which is also unlike described in the book). And I’ve now seen Boris Karloff in action as well as Bela Lugosi! It’s about time, I suppose.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Directed by James Whale

Based on Premise suggested by Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, E. E. Clive

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

My Opinion:

This was a bit of an odd one to me but I really liked that, combined with the first movie, we get a little more of the story from the book. Well, a little. We get a bit with the blind guy and I really liked that part of this movie. My favorite part of the book was when “the creature” hid in a family’s cottage for a very long time & sort of became fond of them & learned from them and the blind man in the movie was I guess a nod to that.

I liked that Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, starting to tell more of her Frankenstein story, as well as The Bride in the title of the film. Didn’t know that, as I knew nothing whatsoever about this film beforehand. Again, it was great seeing The Bride & her also now truly iconic horror look. Love that crazy hairdo!

I also liked a super weird part of this movie in which a mad scientist guy has some tiny people in jars. In looking it up, I found they’re called “homunculi“. Fascinating! Here’s what it says at that Wikipedia link: “A homunculus is a representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human.” So that seemed silly at first but now I kind of love that bit. Fun film and, overall, I like the two of these movies together as one.

My Rating: 7/10

The Wolf Man (1941)

Directed by George Waggner

Starring: Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Maria Ouspenskaya, Evelyn Ankers, Lon Chaney Jr.

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Larry Talbot returns to his father’s castle in Wales and meets a beautiful woman. One fateful night, Talbot escorts her to a local carnival where they meet a mysterious gypsy fortune teller.

My Opinion:

Enjoyed this one as well, although I don’t really know what to say about this or The Invisible Man as I knew the least about these stories (but of course know the werewolf legend). Well, I know about werewolves thanks to An American Werewolf In London & the beginning of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, of course! Oh, and Teen Wolf. I’m so ’80s! Hey – did you know a guy in Teen Wolf flashes his penis at the end of that movie?

So, anyway – Yeah, I like werewolves almost as much as vampires when it comes to classic Halloween monsters so of course enjoyed this very straightforward werewolf story. Hairy guys are just a little less sexy than those bloodsuckers, I guess. Lon Chaney Jr. stars as the Wolf Man in this (I knew that thanks to Warren Zevon). So I’ve seen another classic monster movie & actor. Feel like I have a tiny bit more movie blog cred now! Wow – this was a pathetic review. Oh! I like the Silver Bullet movie too. God I’m so ’80s…

My Rating: 7/10

The Invisible Man (1933)

Directed by James Whale

Based on The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Starring: Gloria Stuart, Claude Rains, William Harrigan, Dudley Digges, Una O’Connor, Henry Travers, Forrester Harvey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

My Opinion:

I know the least about this story and, no, I’ve not read the H. G. Wells book. In all honesty, I think the 2020 movie was my first real introduction to this character (which I assume is very different from the book!). So I’d feel like an ass saying too much about this movie.

I enjoyed it but liked it a bit less than the more “classic monster” movies I watched Halloween weekend. I loved the special effects, though. I thought they were damn good for 1933! I know jack shit about filmmaking but, with all the stupid CGI these days that rarely moves me, I was more impressed by whatever probably super simple tricks they used in this movie to make this guy’s head, etc, invisible in some scenes. Brilliant! Way cooler than computer magic.

FYI – the star of this one is Claude Rains and, once again, I’m happy to finally see these actors in these iconic roles. And, hey – the old lady from Titanic, Gloria Stuart, is in this. Her heart will go on! God I suck at reviewing old movies. This was good, though. All of these were. I’m glad I finally saw them. Thanks, Horror Channel!

My Rating: 7/10

Dead Of Night (1945) Review

Dead Of Night (1945)

Directed by Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden & Robert Hamer

Written by H.G. Wells, E.F. Benson, John Baines & Angus MacPhail

Starring: Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Frederick Valk, Roland Culver

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An architect senses impending doom as his half-remembered recurring dream turns into reality. The guests at the country house encourage him to stay as they take turns telling supernatural tales.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for a long time as I knew there was a creepy ventriloquist’s dummy in it. Not many things actually give me the creeps in horror movies but those things do!!! *shiver* So I’m happy that I finally saw this but I had no idea beforehand that it was actually a collection of several strange & eerie stories and that the dummy was only one part of those. That was kind of a nice surprise, though. It’s kind of like the original The Twilight Zone before its time (but with more of a horror theme than the quite often sci-fi theme of those). Considering that I still think the original The Twilight Zone is the greatest TV show ever, Dead Of Night was the exact sort of movie for a person like me. I just wish I’d enjoyed the stories a little more. A couple were good, a couple were okay, and the one that seemed to go on the longest was pretty weak.

In this movie, a man arrives at a party at a house in the country and claims to have seen all the guests in a dream, although he’s never met them before. He’s able to predict a couple of things that soon happen, which may or may not just be coincidences. This gets the guests each talking about their own bizarre stories which they’ve either heard about or experienced themselves. We get to see each of these stories while in between them we keep coming back to our storytellers and the stranger who claims to have met them all before.

I won’t go into too much detail on the individual stories in order to avoid spoilers. The first one involving a race car driver was possibly my favorite, although it was pretty obvious where it was headed if you’ve watched enough episodes of The Twilight Zone. But I’m certainly not going to complain at it feeling like an episode of my favorite TV show. The story told by the youngest party guest was fun and slightly creepy but, again, nothing too unexpected when you’ve watched a lot of this sort of thing. I would assume that the two most popular stories are one involving a mirror that seems to be cursed in some way and, of course, the one with the ventriloquist’s dummy as it’s the cover of every DVD I’ve seen and is what I always thought was the one and only story in the film.


I’d say these are the two most well put-together stories with the finest acting in the film. Michael Redgrave stars as the ventriloquist and, although I can’t pretend to fully know all the classic English actors, the Redgrave name is certainly well known and he does a fine job in the story that has clearly most stayed in the minds of anyone who has watched Dead Of Night. I know if I’d seen this years ago I’d have loved it. It’s very “me”. Unfortunately, I’ve just seen these sort of stories so often that the movie didn’t quite have the impact on me that it could have. It was definitely worth my time, though (despite the ghost “comedy” story, which some may love but I found to be overlong & the weakest story by far). But the mirror & the ventriloquist stories make up for the weaker ones and you may find the dummy haunting your dreams in the same way the man in the central story is haunted by dreams he can’t explain. Dead Of Night is a British supernatural horror classic that deserves more recognition than it seems to get. I wish there were more films like it nowadays.

My Rating: 7.5/10