Marca Del Vampiro, La / Marque Du Vampire, La / Vampires Of Prague / Vampires Of The Night / Vampiri Di Praga, I / Zeichen Des Vampirs, Das
58' (cover 61') - Source: VHS NTSC b/w
Director: Tod Browning (Freaks 1932; Dracula 1931; London After Midnight 1927)
Score: Edward Ward
Writer: Guy Endore / Bernard Schubert (based on a story by Tod Browning)
Director of photography: James Wong Howe
In a Hungarian village wealthy Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) is found dead, drained of blood and with two puncture marks at the neck. The superstitious villagers put it down to vampires. Police and a local professor (Lionel Barrymore) lead an investigation into the vampires, which appear to be inhabiting a nearby castle and are now preying on other people in the village, their next target being Borodin's daughter (Elizabeth Allan).
- Preview reviews list a running time of 80 minutes, so that considerable footage was cut prior to the film's release. This would account for many listed actors who were cut from the final print. - The film is a remake of Tod Browning's silent "London After Midnight" (1927), which starred Lon Chaney in dual roles as Professor Zelen and Count Mora. - The actors all played their roles for a straight horror movie, unaware of the twist-ending until the last few days of shooting. - Count Mora has a scar on his temple. It's a gunshot wound acquired when after having incest with his daughter (Borland) he committed suicide. That was meant to explain to the audiences how he and his daughter became vampires. But censors demanded the deletion of references to both the incest and the suicide. - Young Berkeley drama student Caroll Borland made the look, costume, and make-up of "Mora" all by herself, and it was her part that inspired Charles Addams for the look of Morticia Addams.
Well, what to say of this one? I'm a bit torn here. It is a Tod Browning film (a remake
of his - estimated lost - silent movie "London after midnight" from 1927), again, like in Browning's great Dracula from 1931,
featuring Bela Lugosi as the Count. Although Lugosi has to speak barely 15 words, at the very end of the film. For the rest of
the movie he confines on silent, sinister staring with his pasty face. OK, they have a gorgeous castle, but the plot is more of
an Agatha Christie-like murder mystery than the traditional vampire horror. On the other hand, the film's haunting atmosphere
is well done, and the film is definitely worth watching for every fan of the genre. Well, I'm still a bit torn about this one!