Gnarly Bites: Dracula


Riya Khosla

In this biweekly column, senior Riya Khosla provides her take on all things film.

Riya Khosla, Staff Reporter

Countless years of media and film, and every few years comes a story about an individual who never seems to age, and for whom garlic is a deadly substance to put in your penne alla vodka. Taking the idea that all imagination must come from a seed, I traced the vampire lineage back to the first American film involving vampires: Tod Browning’s Dracula. Produced in 1931, this film stars some of the greats, namely Bela Lugosi, the famous fantastical actor with a niche in monster films. 

This film was one for the books. In context with the age in which this film was produced, its production was stunning. Rather than the use of CGI and greenscreen, inventions that had not yet been thought about, Browning utilized the actor’s movements and camera zoom instead. Simple moments like Dracula hypnotizing a man were emphasized with the camera zooming in as his eyes grew narrower. The actors themselves were phenomenal, specifically the acting of Dwight Frye who, even without the modern technology we now have, managed to frighten me with his maniacal and psychotic presence. 

However old this movie may be, and as much as I tried to deny my futuristic prejudice, it was hard not to produce a chuckle when Dracula’s “bat form” appeared on screen, with it simply being a stuffed bat puppeteered to fly up and down outside a window. It was also comical to see armadillos in Transylvania, just to give this foreign-born story a “nice” Texas kick. 

Like all films, Dracula has been reviewed on Letterboxd, a popular film-rating platform, countless times. So, I thought it best to display some of the funniest here: 


via Letterboxd
via Letterboxd

Drawing back to the ground-level films that have paved the way for countless lovable films in recent years was enlightening for someone like me who enjoys seeing the adaptations of an age-old story over time. Despite the lack of reality in unrealistic scenes like we now expect from films, I rather enjoyed the muffled voices and rolling film. These characteristics make a film hearty and add to the beauty of it all. All in all, this film, although perhaps not one of the best films when judging objectively, is a great one to watch to understand the history of the neo-horror genre we now see unfolding in front of our eyes.