23 July 2014

Mark of the Vampire (1935)
61 min.
Directed by Tod Browning.
With Bela Lugosi, Lionel Barrymore, Lionel Atwill, Elizabeth Allan, Jean Hersholt, Carol Borland, Henry Wadsworth, Donald Meek.
This eminently-constructed 1935 horror is actually a clever murder mystery disguised as a vampire flick.

A remake of his own lost horror London After Midnight (1927), director Tod Browning keeps the plot essentially the same this second time out.

In a small Czechoslovakian village, mysterious Count Mora (Lugosi) and his lady friend Luna (Borland) are nocturnal bloodsuckers suspected of killing a local aristocrat.

And now they're after his lovely daughter Irena (Allan).

But is there more here than meets the eye?

Professor Zelin (Barrymore) and police inspector Neumann (Atwill) join forces to try and save Irena - and the town - lest there be more bloodletting.

A blend of classic horror with a little progressive plot structuring, this gem maintains interest throughout due to Browning's expert direction and an intelligently conceived climax.

Barrymore seems to be having a field day as the wild-eyed Zelin, while '30s and '40s terror vet Atwill (1932's Doctor X) lends solid support.

Lugosi and Borland cut a creepy picture as the vampire duo, the latter especially striking in her ghoulish gothicness.

Also known as Vampires of Prague, this is great midnight fun.

copyright 1998-present | The Terror Trap; www.terrortrap.com | all rights reserved