October 18, 2016

House of Dracula.

Review #849: House of Dracula.

Lon Chaney, Jr. (Lawrence "Larry" Talbot/The Wolf Man), John Carradine (Count Dracula / Baron Latos), Martha O'Driscoll (Milizia Morelle), Lionel Atwill (Police Inspector Holtz), Onslow Stevens (Dr. Franz Edelmann), Jane Adams (Nina), Ludwig Stössel (Ziegfried), Glenn Strange (The Frankenstein Monster), and Skelton Knaggs (Steinmuhl) Directed by Erle C. Kenton (#845 - The Ghost of Frankenstein and #847 - House of Frankenstein)

This was the last of the monster mashup movies by Universal in a dramatic light, released a year after House of Frankenstein (#847). By this point, it seems they were running out of gas, with this film lasting only 67 minutes, which is the same length of The Ghost of Frankenstein (#845). I guess that is the case when you release four of these in three years (1942-1945). At least this time around Dracula is given something to do...in that he wants to be cured of being a vampire (sort of). This time, the theory about the Wolf Man is due to some form of "pressure around the brain", whatever that means. At any rate, continuity is thrown out the window and promptly steamrolled into the ground once again, which never ceases to amaze me. Once again, Dracula does not fight any of the monsters, though someone else does get turned into a vampire this time around. Footage is recycled (for some scenes with The Monster, including the climax from The Ghost of Frankenstein), which is disappointing but not exactly surprising considering the low budget and the time this was made. The movie isn't a clunker, but it really shows the decline of these monsters and it doesn't stick out in any real successful way. Chaney is fine as ever, though you could watch him in any other film with the Wolf Man, though at least he gets some closure to his arc. Carradine is given a bit more to do, but it doesn't really translate to anything too memorable. This was one of Lionel Atwill's final roles before dying four months later. Stevens gets to be interesting when he turns into a vampire over halfway through the film, because for one thing he doesn't just mosey on about like Carradine, with this vampire getting to do the crazy eyes and also attack someone, too, though that may be the highlight sadly. O'Driscoll and Adams are fine, but they can't help a movie undedicated to being anything other than a standardized experience. Instead of getting angry over it being what it is, I can only come up with an exasperated sigh. There isn't much mash to this "monster mash", and really there isn't much of anything to this, but I guess this could work as a way to kill an hour...or not. Honestly, stick to any other Universal horror film of the era previously reviewed here, or write your own Dracula/Frankenstein/Wolf Man story.

Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.

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