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YMMV / Dracula (1931)

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  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Count thoroughly supplanted the original novel's depiction of the title character. Nowadays, having Count Dracula walk around freely in daylight is regarded as a subversion of the "traditional" rules, and if a man with a mustache dressed up in a cape and fangs, he'd be jeered as a poor copy for not shaving. The Count's white mustache is the first thing Harker notices about his host's appearance in the original novel.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The supposed vampire potato bug (which some people have mistaken for a bee or wasp) coming out of its little coffin.
    • The scene with Lucy as a vampire. Granted in the novel it had context to showcase the dangers of vampirisim on a drained victim. Here though, it largely comes and goes without much meaning and is glossed over (at least in the original movie anyway, the Spanish version expanded on it).
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Bela Lugosi as Dracula is nothing short of iconic.
  • "Common Knowledge": Toccata and Fugue in D minor is heavily associated with this movie, but it never appears on its soundtrack.
  • Complete Monster: Both Bela Lugosi's and Carlos Villarías's incarnations of Dracula are monstrous:
    • Count Dracula himself, beneath his easily-dropped mask of civility, is an undead nightmare and stands alone among Universal Horror's mostly sympathetic monsters without an iota of humanity to him. Dracula keeps the villagers around his Transylvanian estate in constant fear and dread of his name, feeding on the blood of innocents to kill them and rise them as vampires under his thrall with a harem of vampire women accompanying him in his crypt. In search of fresh blood, Dracula enslaves Renfield after he leases an abbey in England from him, massacring a ship's crew en route to England to cover his presence and feeding on innocents when he comes ashore. Dracula even bites Lucy, a woman who has nothing but intrigue for his odd mannerisms, and Mina Seward, trying everything in his power to take Mina for his own, trying to force her to kill her own fiancé John Harker and even strangling his loyal servant Renfield to death when he thinks he's betrayed him.
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    • Drácula: As Wicked Cultured and ruthless as his mainstream English version, Dracula enslaves women as his vampire brides, setting them on Renfield to enslave the man's mind after they drain him. Coming to England, Dracula kills the crew of an entire ship and sets about murdering those in London, turning the sweet Lucia into a vampire who preys on children while also targeting Eva with intent to turn her into an undead monster just like him, even brutally killing the loyal Renfield at the end.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: More so than the original novel, due to his Adaptational Attractiveness in the film, Count Dracula is viewed by certain audiences as a tragic figure, or even as a better love interest than Harker, both notions that the movie itself does not posit.
  • Evil Is Cool: Between being one of the best dressed villains in cinema, having exceptional charisma, and performing acts of great evil with aplomb, Count Dracula has more than earned his place amongst the most iconic villains, with Dracula costumes being amongst the most popular outfits on All Hallows' Eve.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The actors who play Dracula and Van Helsing are named (respectively) Bela and Edward.
  • Narm: For decades, the sounds of Renfield screaming while being strangled and Dracula's dying moans were censored out, so for most of the film's existence, we just get a short "Huullchk!" when Dracula is staked.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • Armadillos in Dracula's castle? Shiver!
    • Contemporary reviews say that the movie enticed harsh laughter when screened in Hungary, as the audience was very familiar with Lugosi from his older works and couldn't take him seriously as a supernatural villain. Even critics slammed his performance.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Believe it or not, it was actually pretty shocking in 1931 to see a film with genuine supernatural elements. Before this point, it was typical for any such material to ultimately be explained to have a mundane explanation (witness Universal Horror's own previous film The Phantom of the Opera (1925)).
  • Special Effect Failure: It's blatantly obvious that the bats seen in the film are just rubber puppets on fishing lines. This contrasts with some of the film's other effects, like the glass matte shots which are quite convincing.
  • Signature Scene: It's either Dracula welcoming Renfield to his castle, or the brides walking through the catacombs.
  • Uncanny Valley: An odd auditory version. The Hungarian Bela Lugosi spoke very poor English, and learned his lines phonetically. This naturally resulted in Dracula sounding perhaps like he isn't quite used to speaking at all. This might have been intentional; the reason Dracula even invited Renfield (Jonathan Harker in the original novel) in the first place was for lessons on speaking proper English.
    • This is actually something that's been debated. For many of Lugosi's early American stage roles he did learn this way, but by the time Dracula was made he was probably a good enough English speaker to speak fluently. Compare Lugosi's speaking in Dracula, which he had played on stage previously, to Murders in the Rue Morgue a couple of years later and you can hear him using more natural-sounding if still heavily accented English. Not to mention in the original novel Dracula DID speak good English by the time he's introduced. Harker even noted it was so good he could barely detect his accent.
    • The way Lugosi is giving a constant Death Glare to almost everyone is constant Narm, but also serves to highlight Dracula's inhuman nature. When serving Renfield supper he just leers at the poor mortal like he can't wait to sink his fangs in.


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