HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
Pyewacket
Disaster Artist, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  Mark of the Vampire Bela Lugosi's dead - oh wait, no he isn'tBuy this film here.
Year: 1935
Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allen, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Carol Borland, Jean Hersholt, Henry Wadsworth, Donald Meek, Jessie Ralph, Ivan Ardell, Leila Bennett
Genre: Horror
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: When the body of Sir Karell Borotyn is found slumped over his desk, drained of blood, locals fear it is the work of vampires Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his daughter, Luna (Carol Borland) who stalk the castle grounds by night. Cantankerous Inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill) dismisses this outlandish theory and begins questioning suspects Fedor Vincente (Henry Wadsworth), who stands to inherit a tidy sum after he marries Borotyn’s daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allen), and Baron Otto (Jean Hersholt), Irena’s new guardian and executer of her estate. At Count Mora’s command, Luna starts making nightly visits to nibble Irena’s neck, prompting the Inspector to call Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore), an expert in the occult. Zelin confirms there are vampires at work and draws the Inspector and Baron Otto into the hunt. Ah, but nothing is quite as it seems.

Mark of the Vampire was Tod Browning’s remake of his own silent horror classic, [FILM[London After Midnight (1927). There the “vampire” and detective were played by the great Lon Chaney. Here the role is split between three actors: hammy Lionel Barrymore, blustery Lionel Atwill and the incomparable, Bela Lugosi. Like Christopher Lee in the later Hammer Dracula movies, Lugosi is less a character in this movie than an iconic presence, drawing upon the public’s familiarity with his greatest role. Whereas Browning’s Dracula (1930) is creaky and slow moving, Mark of the Vampire zips along with exciting incidents and spellbinding set-pieces. Archetypal images like fog-shrouded graveyards, cobwebbed castles, creepy bats and wolves are wondrously photographed by James Wong Howe, with the magical highlight being Luna descending through the air on batwings. Elizabeth Allen makes a solid heroine, but the movie’s truly iconic figure is twenty-one year old Carol Borland (Rita Hayworth reputedly screen tested for the role). An eerie, erotic presence (her ghostly visits to Irena carry a certain frisson), Borland is one of the first great lady vampires, and probably the best until Barbara Steele arrived on the scene.

Browning tweaks his horror formula to incorporate more knowing humour (a suit of armour seems alive and spooks Donald Meek’s jittery doctor), reflecting where the genre was heading with Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and The Cat and the Canary (1939) - movies that were clever, scary and funny. He offers a new twist on vampire lore with the Bat Thorn, a plant used to ward off evil, but this all plays second fiddle to the movie’s, proto-M. Night Shyamalan, Big Surprise Twist. The actors, who didn’t receive the final script pages till late into the shoot, had been playing it straight and weren’t best pleased with Browning’s “gimmicky” ending. The original story concludes with Count Mora committing suicide after killing his daughter, with whom he had an incestuous relationship. All traces of incest and suicide were omitted from the final cut, although you’ll notice Lugosi retains an unexplained head wound. In spite of the third act u-turn, the trap lain for the real murderer carries a fair amount of tension, and the way everyone goes along with Zelin’s outlandish plan makes the movie even weirder. Always a good thing. Bela Lugosi delivers the last line with a flourish: “I was greater than any vampire!” He sure was.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3477 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: