Bela Lugosi – Horror Movie Month

I’ve previously covered Bela Lugosi’s signature role of Dracula and second most iconic role Ygor in Son of Frankenstein – both of which are currently available on instant Netflix. Here are a few other Lugosi horror movies for your Halloween pleasure.

White Zombie (1932) – Not rated

Made in just 11 days back in 1932, with a $50,000 budget and sets left standing from Universal’s Dracula and Frankenstein, this film remains a horror classic. Keeping dialogue to a minimum, cameraman Arthur Martinelli cuts loose on this odd fairy tale about a newlywed couple menaced by zombies. Avoiding the stagy static feel that pervades many other early talkies, White Zombie shows its story, rather than tells it.

Well as with much of Lugosi’s output, this film is not actually good but it is fun. Those eyes menacing you in the poster are Lugosi’s and he has a high old time here. The movie is hokey and corny and the zombies are in no way Romero-esque but it can be a hoot and isn’t nearly as bad as Lugosi’s late stage roles.

Abbott & Costello meet Frankenstein (1948) – Not rated

This Abbott and Costello horror-comedy flick features the bumbling buddies as railroad baggage clerks who receive a strange shipment — the last remains of Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster. Trouble is they’re still alive! When the deadly duo escape to a remote island, Abbott and Costello follow their trail and find not only the two ghouls, but also a mad scientist who wants to switch Costello’s brain with that of Frankenstein’s monster.

When revenues fell off for Universal’s classic monsters, they tried reviving them with mash-ups (Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula). After that, they tried a mash-up of monsters with their extremely popular comedy duo Abbott & Costello. This was so successful that it begat A&C Meet the Killer (Boris Karloff), A&C Meet the Invisible Man, and A&C Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (also Boris).

Lugosi reprises his signature role as does Lon Chaney Jr.. Glenn Strange portrays the monster and look for Vincent Price in an extremely brief cameo. The comedy is corny and the monsters are played strictly for laughs but it is quite fun.

Bride of the Monster (1955) – Not rated

Horror icon Bela Lugosi (Dracula) appears in his last starring role as Dr. Eric Vornoff, who with his crazed man-beast servant is conducting flesh-burning radiation experiments in an attempt to create a legion of atomic supermen. When a newspaperwoman gets too inquisitive for her own good, Vornoff takes steps to protect his research. Produced and directed by cult filmmaker Ed Wood Jr., the film features many of his regular players.

Dare I say it – this movie too is not good but fun. In fact it is truly terrible and would be remembered as one of the worst movies of all time had Ed Wood Jr. not followed it up with Plan 9 from Outer Space. This is however Lugosi’s last real role. He has no speaking role in The Black Sleep and passed away during filming of Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Lugosi is fabulous as Vornoff and thankfully gets plenty of screen time. Watch how the actors have to wrap themselves up in the monster’s arms!