House of Dracula

Poster - House of Dracula_02

Who do you turn to if Dracula, Wolf Man and a hunchback woman all want to be cured of their afflictions? Well they turn to a crazy doctor who lives in an ancient castle, of course. This is the conceit of the film, but really it is just an excuse to combine all of these great monster characters into one film.

Dracula comes to the doctor’s mansion in order to seek a treatment to cure him of his vampirism. Of course this is just a ruse to get close to the doctor’s beautiful assistant but that does not stop the doctor from wanting to help him. At around the same time, the Wolf Man comes to the same doctor and desperately seeks a cure for his personal affliction. He seems to be more desperate and more willing to submit to any treatment than Dracula does. The same serum that is needed for the Wolf Man is also needed for the doctor’s other assistant to cure her of her hunchbackism. They work around the clock to grow the cultures and make the serum. In the mean time, Dracula decides to give the doctor his blood instead of the other way around. This of course changes the doctor and makes him mad. He finds Frankenstein’s monster, threatens to bring him back to life and also threatens to kill several townspeople. As the serum is finishing the doctor barely holds it together when he realizes that he only has enough serum for one operation which of course goes to Wolf Man. He cures the Wolf Man, Dracula tries to seduce the assistant several times, and finally the doctor goes completely insane. If only the doctor had refused Dracula’s entreaties…

John Carradine gets his chance to portray Dracula and I think he does a better job of it than Lon Chaney Jr did in the previous film. Mr. Carradine exudes a confidence that I think Mr. Chaney intrinsically lacks. Instead of portraying Dracula, Mr. Chaney is back in the character he is tailor-made to inhabit; the Wolf Man. He plays him with a desperation so sincere that he has to be pulling that from his own life. The story is ridiculous and the characters even more so, but again I found myself going along for the ride. I enjoyed this film because it was ridiculous and because the actors were so committed. It was a solid B picture.

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