This is the first screen version of Bram Stoker's famous tale based on the smash hit stage production. Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) arrives in London and immediately works to enrapture and transform into vampires young Lucy Weston (Frances Dade) and her friend Mina Seward (Helen Chandler). After he succeeds in turning Lucy, and Mina's health suddenly deteriorates, Mina's father (Herbert Bunston), calls in a specialist, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan). Van Helsing quickly recognizes Dracula's vampirism, and sets about saving Mina (and in the process, becomes Dracula's archenemy). The film, arguably the most influential of the legend's film versions, launched Lugosi's career in horror movies and forever invited vampires across Hollywood's threshold.
The Mummy represented Boris Karloff's second horror starring role after his "overnight" success in Frankenstein. Brought back to life after nearly 3,700 years, Egyptian high priest Imhotep wreaks havoc upon the members of the British field exposition that disturbed his tomb (shades of the King Tut curse). While disguised as a contemporary Egyptologist, he falls in love with Zita Johann, whom he recognizes as the latest incarnation of a priestess who died nearly 40 centures earlier. Spiriting Zita away to the tomb, he relates the story of how he had dared to enter her ancestor's sacred burial crypt, hoping to restore her to life. Caught in the act, he was embalmed alive and his tongue was cut out for his act of sacrilege. Now that he has returned, he intends to slay Zita, so that they will be reunited for all time in the Hereafter. Despite its melodramatic trappings, The Mummy is essentially a love story, poetically related by ace cinematographer and first-time director Karl Freund. Jack Pierce's justly celebrated makeup skills offers us two Karloffs: the wizened Egyptologist and the flaking, rotting mummy, who though only seen for a few seconds remains in the memory long after the film's final image has faded. Best line: "It went for a little walk." The Mummy was followed by four stock footage-laden sequels, none of which approached the power and poignancy of the original.
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