House of Dracula (1945)

“I believe anything can happen, in a person’s mind.”

Synopsis:
Dracula (John Carradine) and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.) both seek the help of Dr. Edelmann (Onslow Stevens) in curing their ailments; soon the Wolf Man stumbles upon the body of Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange), who Dr. Edelmann decides to revive.

Genres:

Review:
Of all the Universal Studios “monster flicks” I’ve watched over the last few months (and that’s quite a few), House of Dracula stands out as probably the least of them all. There’s honestly nothing new here to speak of — unless you count the inclusion of a beautiful hump-backed female nurse (Jane Adams) as Dr. Edelmann’s assistant. Visually, it’s as stunning as the rest of Universal’s output, with appropriately atmospheric cinematography, impressively baroque sets, and some creatively conceived imagery. But the lack of any type of original story for these (overly) familiar characters was simply killing me — and the forced inclusion of Frankenstein’s monster into the narrative is (if possible) more egregiously nonsensical than ever before. This one’s really only for diehard fans.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Dracula hypnotizing Martha O’Driscoll into playing piano music she’s never heard before
  • Atmospheric cinematography
  • Some creative imagery

Must See?
Definitely not; like so many of Universal’s other follow-up “monster flicks”, this one will only be of interest to fans of the series.

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One Response to “House of Dracula (1945)”

  1. First viewing. Not a must.

    “This evil thing must be destroyed.” But, gee, if that happened, what would become of unnecessary, cash-in sequels such as this?

    It is, of course, never a good sign when a 67-minute film feels twice its length. So, that kind of nutshells this oddity. Still, viewers may reap a bit of jaw-dropping enjoyment nonetheless. Like ‘House of Frankenstein’, ‘HOD’ bizarrely tackles and blends the Frankenstein, Dracula and Wolf Man stories – but, try as you may, following the thread of the mix will not be easy. I wouldn’t say it’s boring – I’m just hard-pressed to say *what* it is. If it’s not exactly camp, it’s certainly mildly zany (i.e., where else in cinema can you find such a sensitive, sympathetic, hump-backed lab assistant?).

    One arresting visual: the Wolf Man jumps off a cliff.

    Fun visual effect: the dream sequence that attempts to piece together the triptych storyline. (Thanks here to John P. Fulton – who, acc. to IMDb, was just one film short of visual effect work on 250 films! Atta boy, John!)

    Fave scene: Dr. Edelmann ‘chats with’ a coach driver.

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