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Thursday, May 6, 2021

1931


 I thought about this for some time. Thought it would be fun. Horror fans have their favorites lists. What films they consider sort of a measuring stick for where films fall in terms of their own personal tastes. A starting place for me personally decided upon was 1931. 

And since the 30s have several films in my personal Top 50, with two ("Dracula" and "Bride of Frankenstein") in my Top 10, that is a decade very important in establishing to visitors of the blog where my particular interests are in the horror genre. 

No surprise, Dracula is on the top spot while Frankenstein most often wins it when you visit a lot of polls of this year. And I completely understand that. It isn't that I don't revere Frankenstein. I think it is just Lugosi and that opening of the film until we get to England is probably my personal favorite of the horror genre. They try to warn Renfeld as he forwards on ahead to Borgo Pass and eventually to Dracula's castle but "old village superstitions" don't persuade him. Lugosi at the stairs or his sinister gaze at Renfeld, anticipating a blood feeding, the "children of the night" and his "welcome", the castle itself, all of that I've mentioned on the blog for years make up why the film dazzles me to this day. But I admit that the Phillip Glass and Kronos orchestra helps punch the static the film would have otherwise. But Karloff's monster, Frankenstein's pursuit of achieving what only God has done in terms of creating life, the little girl's drowning and her father carrying his daughter's wet, dead body in his arms throughout the village up to the burgomaster; Frankenstein still holds such value to me as well. I guess Lugosi tilts Dracula over the scales just a bit.

Dracula

Frankenstein

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Svengali

The Mad Genius



Top 5 as of 2021

  1. Dracula [5/5]
  2. Frankenstein [5/5]
  3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [5/5]
  4. Svengali [5/5]
  5. The Mad Genius [4/5]
Absent from this list is Fritz Lang's M. I sort of went back and forth on the film. It was more of a drama than a horror film to me. Though I could understand an argument for its inclusion. I just decided against adding it, though I think it is a classic with a masterful performance from Peter Lorre.

1931 is an incredible year. I just recently revisited Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and loved it more than ever before. It feels more "pre-code" than the other films listed, but Svengali was an absolute revelation to me back in 2015 because of Barrymore's performance and look. Although I liked The Mad Genius quite well, it just couldn't quite match Svengali, though Barrymore is still just phenomenal. Though alcoholism would deteriorate him and age him, these early performances are a knockout.

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