The Rare Carpathian Armadillo

Friday, October 27th, 2006

I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula years ago — it was much, much better than Frankenstein, by the way — and I’ve seen any number of vampire movies in my day, but I only recently saw the “original” 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi as the count.

A few observations:

  • In the film, it is Renfield (who ends up a bug-eating lunatic) and not Jonathan Harker (the protagonist of the book) who goes to Transylvania.
  • Dracula’s castle contains rats, fake spiders, and … armadillos. Seriously. I don’t know who the set-dresser was who came up with that one, but they’re there.
  • In the castle, Renfield faints at the sight of a laughably fake bat, and Dracula’s wives approach, when Dracula appears and descends — off screen — on Renfield. Rumor has it that the studio didn’t want Dracula to attack a man on screen — too gay — but fading to black doesn’t seem much better. Anyway, this somehow turns Renfield into his loyal, lunatic manservant.

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