Horror Film Enthusiasts Will Be Pleased With This Very Instructive Documentary.
A decision to watch this crisply paced documentary that includes trailers from more than 25 feature films, will be a sensible one, for if a viewer merely accepts conventions of the genre, there will be found a good deal of footage revolving about malign acts committed by the dreaded "Thirsty Transylvanian", with many additional figures of the horror cinema category upon exhibit. Compiled, written and directed by motion picture chronicler Ted Newsom, this work is one of three connective pieces completed in 1991, the others being "Frankenstein" and "Wolfman", each released as a CINEMATIC SCRAPBOOK. This is not solely a compendium of previews from upcoming releases, but is additionally a neatly constructed and generous assemblage of material concerning the Dracula motif, based upon Irish author Bram Stoker's novel that has not been out of print since its initial publication date of 1897. Following upon a popular adaptation for staged performances, the first filmed version is F.W. Murnau's powerful NOSFERATU (1922), that being also the first picture excerpted here, followed by the Tod Browning 1931 classic Dracula, featuring Bela Lugosi as the vile Count (Newsom points out that both Conrad Veidt and Paul Muni tested for the part, but the Hungarian player's successful run upon Broadway and on tour, performing as the vampire, garnered for him the role. A wide gamut of screen styles follows, ranging from terror to comedy, samples from one featuring film following in linear fashion close upon another, with a goodly amount of footage included from British Hammer Film productions, principally those that star Christopher Lee as Dracula with Peter Cushing seen in his customary turn as Doctor Abraham Van Helsing, the evil Count's arch adversary, as established within the Stoker template. There are many interesting snippets from the history of film to be seen and heard during the course of this consistently entertaining piece, such as the deceased Lugosi photographed as he lies within his coffin garbed in Dracula costume; the fact that Dracula HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE (1968) is the most profitable Hammer production; Christopher Lee being interviewed in his home as he describes his visit to the castle of Vlad the Impaler, 15th century ruler of Wallachia and historical prototype for Stoker's creation; et alia. Although only an hour in length, this film may be strongly recommended for cinéastes.
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