Mark Of The Vampire

  • 1935
  • Movie
  • G
  • Crime, Horror

After having dropped out of the genre following FREAKS in 1932, Tod Browning made his comeback with this pseudo-vampire opus--a virtual scene-for-scene remake of his own silent film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (little seen since 1927 and feared lost). MGM gave Browning a class production and provided him with an exceptional cast. The striking Carroll Borland,...read more

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After having dropped out of the genre following FREAKS in 1932, Tod Browning made his comeback with this pseudo-vampire opus--a virtual scene-for-scene remake of his own silent film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (little seen since 1927 and feared lost). MGM gave Browning a class production and

provided him with an exceptional cast. The striking Carroll Borland, a 21-year-old protege of Bela Lugosi who worked with him in the stage version of "Dracula," was given her big break and managed to create one of the most recognizable characters in horror movies on the basis of one film. Set in

Czechoslovakia, the action takes place in a spooky, cobweb-filled castle recently occupied by Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) and his daughter, Irena (Elizabeth Allan). Rumor has it that the previous owner, Count Mora (Lugosi), murdered his daughter Luna (Borland) and then shot himself, and

that their undead spirits now haunt the castle, determined to kill any new residents. When the dead body of Sir Karell is found drained of all blood with two punctures in the neck, Inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill), Dr. Doskill (Donald Meek), and Baron Otto von Zinden (Jean Hersholt) vow to solve

the crime. Though the film conveys an appropriately eerie mood through its fabulous set design by Cedric Gibbons and superior cinematography by James Wong Howe, MARK OF THE VAMPIRE is disappointing due to its "twist" ending. Given that all the spooky hocus-pocus of the plot is just an elaborate

ruse by police to catch a killer (and that the vampires aren't really vampires), the illogic of the action becomes annoyingly manipulative. (Did the police persuade the townsfolk to act like they believe in vampires?) Browning shot the film as straight horror without informing his players how the

film was to end, but when the twist ending was revealed, the cast urged him to reject it and stay within the horror framework. When he refused, Lugosi and Borland offered an alternative which left open the possibility that their characters were actually vampires pretending to be actors. Browning

refused to give in and the hokey ending remained. Lugosi, Borland, and most horror fans took this as a slap in the face, as if Browning were saying they were silly for allowing themselves to believe in such nonsense. Not only does the ending turn the vampires into fakes, but the script leaves

Lugosi speechless until the final scene when he reveals that he's an actor.

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  • Rating: G
  • Review: After having dropped out of the genre following FREAKS in 1932, Tod Browning made his comeback with this pseudo-vampire opus--a virtual scene-for-scene remake of his own silent film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (little seen since 1927 and feared lost). MGM gave B… (more)

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