Based on the story “The Hypnotist” by Tod Browning
Screenplay by Guy Endore & Bernard Schubert
Directed by Tod Browning (Freaks)
Plot: When Sir Borotyn is found dead with two holes in his neck, the immediate thought goes to the killer being a vampire. The main suspect is Count Mora but Inspector Neumann refuses to believe in vampires. Professor Zelin, expert on the occult and all things vampiric, arrives to save the young Irena Borotyn, but all is not what it appears to be.
Personal Thoughts: MGM could make a great movie as could Tod Browning and together, they crafted a really fun film. It’s incredibly atmospheric with chilling visuals and haunting sound effects. I loved seeing Lionel Barrymore prior to his arthritis crippling him and Lionel Atwill turns in another great performance as an inspector. Lugosi is, essentially, playing Dracula and it works very well despite the fact he never speaks until the final scene. And Carroll Borland is just downright spooky as Luna. Unfortunately, the ending (and I won’t spoil it for those who still haven’t seen this movie) turns everything upside down. That aside, a very fun film and well worth checking it out.
- Remake of the lost Lon Chaney classic, London After Midnight (1927).
- The film was cut from its original running time of 75 minutes to just over an hour at 61 minutes. Tod Browning had no control over the cuts after his previous film, Freaks (1932), was a financial failure.
- An incest storyline between Count Mora and his daughter Luna was written out of the script due to the new standards of the Production Code. He ended his life by shooting himself in the head. Thus, the gunshot wound on his right temple that is never explained in the movie.
- Lugosi has more lines in the trailer than he does in the entire movie.
- The film’s ending is still highly debated amongst horror fans.
- Watch the trailer on YouTube
- Part of the wonderful Hollywood’s Legends of Horror Collection DVD set
- As a bonus, listen to episode 19 of the B Movie Cast podcast