House of Dracula (Erle C. Kenton, 1945, USA)

House of Dracula is certainly one of the wilder films in the Universal horror canon. As the series continued throughout the 1940s, filmmakers aimed at novel ways of getting audiences into their seats. House of Dracula is one of the many films of the era which brought together various iconic figures in a single film - in this case, Count Dracula (played here by veteran character actor John Carradine), The Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), and Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange). 

The film centers around Dr. Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens), who is visited both by Dracula and the Wolf Man, who are trying to cure their vampirism and lycanthropy, respectively. Throughout the film, while attempting to give Dracula a blood transfusion, Dr. Edelmann has a very negative reaction to Dracula's blood, and he begins to become a monster himself. 

Like many films from this era, House of Dracula represents a transition wherein Universal went from making horror movies to pure monster movies. The atmosphere of the first generation of Univeral horror films was largely absent, and instead, the filmmakers focused on cramming as much monster action into a single film as possible. The monsters are the true stars here, at the expense of the story or anything else. That being said, the film does manage to capture some of the great cinematography and gothic feel of the earlier films. The film also benefits from being a somewhat metaphorical representation of Lon Chaney Jr.'s character, as he was no doubt trying to escape the character of the Wolf Man that had made him a star. Though the film is often incoherent, it is much more fun than many of the films from this era, and almost surreal at times. It is worth watching if you have a sense of humor. It is also worth seeing all of the monsters together in the same film.



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