Must-Own Halloween Blu-Rays In 2012 – Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection + 1

A Halloween Blu-ray Collection Keeps Dracula in a Box

The 1931 Dracula is one of the films included in this collection that I’m most anticipating, though not for the reasons you may think. Yes, the film iconic and Lugosi’s portrayal of Count Dracula has been imprinted onto every subsequent version of the character since.

But what I’m most anticipating is the film’s environment. As much as I love Tod Browning (especially Freaks), the film has its flaws, particularly the static camera work. Seriously, Browning uses zooms and dollies about as much as a typical Charles Band film, which delivers an end result that is like watching a play. The film oozes style by sheer virtue of its gorgeous Gothic castle sets and lighting. The film’s environment would look great on a beat up VHS tape — just imagine how they’ll look on Blu-ray. The most frustrating thing is goddamned Tod Browning doesn’t do a thing with them!

This fault is especially apparent when compared to the slick, stylized Spanish version of Dracula, which used the same sets and was filmed simultaneously. In contrast, Browning’s take on the material seems downright amateurish — because it is. Still, the Spanish version lacks a leading man of Lugosi’s caliber, as its vampire villain comes off hammy and cartoonish. Somewhere between Dracula and its Spanish counterpart is a perfect Universal horror film. As is, both have their problems glossed over by their strongest attributes — Lugosi for the U.S. version, stylish cinematography for the Spanish.

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