Film Review - House of Dracula

Starring - Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Glenn Strange, Martha O'Driscoll, Lionel Atwill | Directed by Erle C. Kenton | Universal DVD FF Not Rated 64min 1945

Review By Xmortis

The seventh and final serious Universal film to showcase The Monster is a direct follow up to House of Frankenstein. Does this monster mash up hold a charm like the previous ones did? Read on to find out.

Count Dracula is back and is going to Dr. Edelmann for help to cure him from his blood drinking ways. Edelmann takes the case on and with his hunchback nurse Nina works on multiple experiments that will change the world for the good. Larry Talbot also shows up at Edelmann's office looking for a cure for his werewolf curse, but when the Doctor is busy with Dracula he flees into the night and is put into jail. Edelmann goes to the jail and talks to Talbot who is beginning to be cured of his werewolf ways, but when the cure is months away Larry flings himself off a cliff. Edelmann must enter the watery caves below to look for him and first finds the Wolfman, then Larry Talbot. They also find the body of the Monster and the skeleton of Niemann, and Edelmann decides to also help The Monster. Nurse Miliza Morelle is having issues. She has feelings for Larry, but Dracula is taken with her. Nina sees Dracula using his evil powers on Miliza and warns Edelmann what Dracula is up to, making him do another treatment on that Count that backfires as Dracula's blood is put into the body of Edelmann. But this also backfires on Dracula as Enelmann exposes him to sunlight killing him. Edelmann starts to go crazy from Dracula's blood, and the now sinister Doctor goes to work to bring the Monster back from its weakened state. But he does come through and gives Larry the surgery to free him of his curse. Edelmann kills a man, and Larry is a witness who protects the Doctor who just wants enough time to cure Nina of her hunchback. The villagers and the police head to the Doctor's house once his crest is found in the hand of the dead man. As Larry is shown to be cured of his curse all hell breaks loose as the Monster has full energy and Edelmann kills Nina and a cop only to be gunned down by Larry. The Monster is mad over his new master's death but is burned alive by Larry in the lab.

This sequel to Frankenstein, Dracula and The Wolfman series is one that has an amazing plot in which the monsters want to be cured of what makes them evil. To me that makes for one hell of a story. In this film Dracula is the major bad guy, and while at first you think that he really does want help, it would appear later in the film that he is really using the good Doctor to get close to the woman he wants to be his bride. Plus I really like the idea of a good hearted Doctor putting his safety on the line to save some of the era's worst monsters. Glenn Strange plays the Monster for the second time and for most of the film plays a very minor character that just lies on a slab. For the brief time he is up and shuffling around it's just like old times. But I must admit that the Monster is wasted in the film and could have been removed and it would not affected the plot. John Carradine once more is Dracula. While again I am not a fan of his performance as the vampire, he does shine a little brighter in this one. While only shown as The Wolfman twice, Lon Chaney Jr. holds your attentions as Larry Talbot and still makes you cheer for his quest for the cure. Chaney was a master of his art with these films. Onslow Stevens plays Doctor Edelmann and gives an amazing performance. I wish they made another in the series so he could have returned. He is a character that you respect and feel for as he starts to change. In fact the whole cast does one of the best jobs in the later films in this franchise. Even the raspy voice freaky looking Skelton Knaggs gives a fine performance. The film is shot well and again could be the best looking film out of the past three. The sets look even grander and the use of shadow in this film adds to the over all creepy feel of the story. The films score, while recycled from past films, is used perfectly. The downside to the film is the fact they don't explain how Larry Talbot or Dracula have returned from death, but do show the Monster's return. But even with that big flaw, this film marks one of the better sequels in the series.

Once more this is a Region 2 PAL disc that has the Van Helsing trailer, another trailer and a look at Van Helsing. I should also note that I have liked all the covers for this series this far both the American releases and the UK ones.

This marks the last serious Universal Horror mash up film and also marks the final time John Carradine would play Dracula for Universal. This film is a fun good watch with a solid story and great use of Larry Talbot. This film is worth a buy and watch for sure.

Next up is the final Universal Frankenstein film, the horror comedy Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a silly monster mash up that marks the return of Bela Lugosi as Dracula!