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Erle C. Kenton
Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Lionel Atwill
Writing Credits:
Edward T. Lowe Jr.

Count Dracula and the Wolf Man seek a cure for their afflictions, while a hunchbacked woman, a mad scientist and the Frankenstein monster have their own troubles.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 67 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 9/13/16
Available as Part of the “Wolf Man Complete Legacy Collection”
Available as Part of the “Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection”
Available as Part of the “Dracula Complete Legacy Collection”

• Trailer


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House of Dracula [Blu-Ray] (1945)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 28, 2018)

One of the last entries in the series of films launched by 1931’s classic Dracula, 1945’s House of Dracula comes with a slightly misleading title. Despite the focus on our favorite vampire, House features a mess of other monsters as well.

Essentially a sequel to 1944’s House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula picks up introduces us to Dr. Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens), a specialist who may be able to cure various creatures of their “maladies”. “Baron Latos” – really Count Dracula (John Carradine) - goes to Dr. Edelmann in alleged pursuit of a way out of his vampiric status, but in truth, he simply uses this as a ruse so he can get closer to the doctor’s assistant Milizia Morelle (Martha O’Driscoll) and transform her.

In addition, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) – aka the Wolf Man – also comes to visit Dr. Edelmann for treatment. Both threads lead to a series of concerns.

Though House of Dracula acts as a follow-up to House of Frankenstein, the two films seem quite different. House of Frankenstein offers a silly but fun romp, whereas House of Dracula tends to take itself a lot more seriously.

That becomes a strength and a weakness. On one hand, I admire the movie’s attempts at drama and psychological depth, as it digs into the burdens that come with monster status. Dracula boasts a narrative more ambitious than one would expect from a quick, cheap horror sequel.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t manage to live up to its aspirations. Despite the movie’s interesting plot/character notions, it remains shallow and without much emotion. Even at a brief 67 minutes, it tends to plod and move at a snail’s pace.

It’s definitely nowhere near as entertaining as the goofy House of Frankenstein. As absurd as the earlier film was, at least it kept us involved. House of Dracula lacks much excitement, as it just meanders from one dull conversation to another.

Oh, we still find the occasional “action” scene, but these fall flat. Even the climactic attempt at mayhem seems perfunctory, and the movie’s abrupt ending becomes bizarre and unsatisfying.

At least the actors do fairly well. I was never wild about Chaney’s Wolf Man, but he brings a bit more gravity to the role here, and Carradine does much better as Dracula in this flick than he did in House of Frankenstein. Tall and gaunt, he feels wrong in a physical sense – he looks more like he should play the Mummy – but Carradine offers reasonable menace and eerie qualities to Dracula.

All of this leaves House of Dracula as a middle of the road horror effort. It works better than it probably should, but it still seems too dull to be more than an admirable misfire.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

House of Dracula appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a highly satisfying presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness in a couple of wider shots. Most of the film boasted fine delineation and accuracy.

Neither jaggies nor moiré effects impacted the proceedings, and the presence of light grain meant it seemed unlikely that digital noise reduction came into play. Edge haloes remained absent and I saw no print flaws.

Blacks seemed deep and rich, while contrast gave the movie a fine silvery sheen. Low-light shots brought us nice smoothness and clarity. These Universal monster Blu-rays consistently excel and House follows suit.

I felt the same about the high-quality DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, as it held up nicely for its age. Music and effects didn’t boast great range or punch, but both came across accurate enough and they lacked distortion or problems.

As usual for older recordings, speech came across as a little tinny, but the lines remained fairly concise and only a few spots of edginess occurred. The mix lacked hiss, noise or other problems. This turned into a more than acceptable mix for its era.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Music seemed clearer and more concise, while visuals were tighter, richer and cleaner. The Blu-ray delivered the expected upgrade.

Like its siblings, House comes with a trailer but it lacks other extras.

Even with a surprisingly ambitious narrative, House of Dracula doesn’t go much of anywhere. It lacks the depth it needs and fails to produce much entertainment value. The Blu-ray brings positive picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. This turns into a solid presentation for a blah movie.

As of fall 2018, House of Dracula can be purchased as part of a seven-film “Wolf Man Complete Legacy Collection”. In addition to House, we find The Wolf Man, She-Wolf of London, Werewolf of London, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

House of Dracula also be found as part of an eight-film “Frankenstein Complete Legacy Collection”. In addition to House, we find Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

House of Dracula also can be found as part of a seven-film “Dracula Complete Legacy Collection”. In addition to Son, we find Dracula, the 1931 Spanish language Dracula, Dracula’s Daughter, Son of Dracula, House of Frankenstein, and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

In addition, House comes in the “Universal Monsters Complete 30-Film Collection”. It actually packages the Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolf Man sets mentioned above with similar compilations for other Universal Monsters.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of HOUSE OF DRACULA

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