Starting with The Wolf Man (in 1941), Universal Studios made five movies featuring The Wolf Man, a character portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr. Monster by Moonlight! explores these movies. Rick ... See full summary »
This small documentary was produced by Universal Studios in order to celebrate the edition of their classic horror film, "Dracula", in DVD 68 years after its initial theatrical release. Hosted by Carla Laemmle, niece of Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, the film gives the story behind the myth of Dracula and how it went from being a popular horror novel to be one of the most important cultural icons in humanity thanks to the many films he has appeared.
The documentary is also a celebration to the members of the cast that made the 1931 version, as they have become the prototype of those characters for many generations, specially Bela Lugosi, the Hungarian actor who played Dracula. Along Laemmle, film historians and relatives of the cast members are interviewed in an interesting way that gives a lot of insight on how the movie came to be. Bela Lugosi Jr and Dwight David Frye (son of Dwight Frye) talk extensively about their respective fathers, and Lupita Tovar gives some light about her participation in the Spanish version of "Dracula".
Besides the historic figures and historians, people in the modern film industry talk about how "Dracula"'s influence is still recognizable in the current horror genre. Horror writer and film director Clive Barker as well as make-up artist Rick Baker speak about the impact "Dracula" had in their respective areas. Among the many interviews, probably the one that is the most important is the one with Ivan Butler, who in his youth was a member of the theatrical company that made "Dracula" for the first time.
Along with the interviews many clips of the many incarnations of "Dracula" made by Universal appear. It's a shame (although it's understandable)that the documentary only focused on Universal's versions, because the character of Dracula has been portrayed in so many ways that it would be interesting a more complete history about the character. In fact, that would be my only criticism, that it focuses in the events before the 1931 version and lacks information about what happened next and its impact in other media.
Still, despite being short, it's quite informative, specially for enthusiasts of horror and the history of Universal Studios in general. It may not be the best documentary about Dracula the character, but it's a very good one about "Dracula", the film. Very recommended is also "Monster by Moonlight! The Immortal Saga of 'The Wolf Man'", a similar documentary but about "The Wolf Man" (1941). 7/10
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