Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931, dir. Tod Browning) Art direction by Charles D. Hall
Dorothy Tree, Geraldine Dvorak, & Cornelia Thaw as Dracula’s brides in Dracula (1931, Tod Browning) (via)
“I was not alone.
In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming, for though the moonlight was behind them, they threw no shadow on the floor.
They came close to me and looked at me for some time and then whispered together. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.
They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on.
One said: “Go on! You are first, and we shall follow; yours is the right to begin.”
The other added: “He is young and strong; there are kisses for us all.”
-Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931, dir. Tod Browning) Art direction by Charles D. Hall (via)
“When I am given a new role in a horror film, I have a character to create just as much as if I were playing a straight part. Whether one thinks of films like Dracula as ‘hokum’ or not does not alter the fact; the horror actor must believe in his part. The player who portrays a film monster with his tongue in his cheek is doomed to fail.
In playing Dracula, I have to work myself up into believing that he is real, to ascribe to myself the motives and emotions that such a character would feel. For a time I become Dracula - not merely an actor playing at being a vampire. A good actor will ‘make’ a horror part. He will build up the character until it convinces him and he is carried away by it.
There is another reason why I do not mind being “typed” in eerie thrillers - with few exceptions, there are, among actors, only two types who matter at the box office. They are heroes and villains. The men who play these parts are the only ones whose names you will see in electric lights outside the theater. Obviously you will not find me competing with Clark Gable or Robert Montgomery! Therefore, I have gone to the other extreme in my search for success and public acclaim.”
-Bela Lugosi, Film Weekly, July 1935
Dracula’s Brides in a production still from Dracula (1931, Tod Browning) Art direction by Charles D. Hall (via)
L to R: Tod Browning, Carroll Borland, and Bela Lugosi on the set of Mark of the Vampire (1935, dir. Tod Browning) (via)