Bela Lugosi stars in the 1931 horror classic Dracula. It was the biggest box office smash from Universal in 1931, kickstarting the popularity of the sound era Universal Monsters. Also featured on the copy in our collection is the original Spanish Language film Drácula, which was filmed on the same set, starring Spanish, Mexican, Cuban, and Argentinian actors.
For a different twist on the character of Dracula, watch Christopher Lee in the title role of the 1958 color adaptation, Horror of Dracula. Peter Cushing also stars, giving an iconic portrayal of vampire hunter Doctor Van Helsing.
Also from Universal Classic Monsters franchise is Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection. This multi-disc set includes The Wolf Man (1941) starring Lon Chaney Jr., and its stellar predecessor Werewolf of London (1935), as well as She-Wolf of London (1946) and Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1942). All films use a variety of physical and special effects that were groundbreaking for their time.
Currently reshaping the horror genre is Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, mastermind behind such films as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone. He has been greatly influenced by Universal Monsters and other early horror classics, as well as literary works by the Brontë sisters. His Gothic romance Crimson Peak is rich in detail, expertly blending classic horror and Victorian drama.
Early in del Toro’s career he directed Chronos, a Spanish language film about Jesús Gris, a man who discovers a mysterious mechanical object. As Jesús slowly becomes immortal, he must face the horror that comes with the gift of eternal life.
On a lighter note, check out some comedy horror films! Tim Curry leads a striking ensemble cast including Susan Sarandon in the one of a kind cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1974). Richard O’Brien wrote and starred in this musical that parodies Frankenstein, classic horror, and Hollywood musicals. Jim Sharman directs.
Mel Brooks’ unmissable classic Young Frankenstein will make you scream with laughter! Gene Wilder stars as Frederick “Fronkensteen” the grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein who continues his experiments reanimating the dead. Filmed in black and white, this 1974 comedy lampoons the musicals of Fred Astaire and Universal Horror alike.
Please stop by the Music and Media Collections to check out these titles and more! We’re located on the first floor of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library to the right of the Main Circulation desk.
By Sarah Pavey