Dracula (1931)

Watching this early Universal horror classic, it’s easy to forget that this movie is almost a century old: From the sets to the atmosphere to the props to the score, every element of Tod Browning’s masterpiece comes together and gradually unspurls, weaving a creepy adaptation of the classic novel that trims the fat without sacrificing imagination or cohesion, displaying a economical approach to filmmaking that keeps things moving briskly despite several deliberately stately moments. Bela Lugosi’s legendary performance is dated thanks to nearly a century of imitation, but his screen presence is magnetic and remarkably insidious, and it’s easy to see why his reputation has endured as long as it has.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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