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The Best of the Vampires

October 31, 1994|JACK MATHEWS

"Nosferatu" (1922). German Expressionist F.W. Murnau turned Dracula into a rat-faced monster, more reminiscent of an anorexic fruit bat than an Eastern European aristocrat, but he was a fright.

* "Dracula" (1931). Bela Lugosi's trance-like glare and comedic timing ("I don't drink . . . wine") gave the world a new view of Bram Stoker's Transylvanian count.

* "Dracula's Daughter" (1936). The homoerotic undercurrents of this film reportedly provided inspiration for "Interview With the Vampire" author Anne Rice.

* "Horror of Dracula" (1958). The first of the British Hammer Films full-color horror pictures introduced Peter Cushing as the Count, and was the first film to attempt a reasonably faithful version of the Bram Stoker novel.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 1, 1994 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 3 Column 1 Entertainment Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
Wrong director--An article in Monday's Calendar section about Frankenstein and vampire movies incorrectly identified the director of the 1931 "Frankenstein"; he is James Whale. Also, "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" was released in 1943, not 1939.

* "Blacula" (1972). The first black horror film features a black victim of Dracula whose corpse is revived in L.A.

* "Dracula" (1979). Adapted from the popular Broadway production, it didn't have much bite as a horror film, but Frank Langella was the sexiest vampire to nibble on the screen.

* "Love at First Bite" (1979). George Hamilton, whose entire career was a parody of Bela Lugosi, didn't blow his chance to play the master in this hilarious spoof about a vampire doing the Big Apple.

* "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992). Terrifying only if you were an investor, Frances Coppola's spare-no-expense special effects extravaganza at least reminded us what vampires really want.

The Best of the Frankensteins

* "Frankenstein" (1931). For opening day audiences, wherever and whenever the movies were first shown, Frank Whale's masterpiece may have been the most frightening movie ever made.

* "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935). The first horror movie to successfully blend humor and terror, and Elsa Lanchester, we don't mind saying, was a bride to die for.

* "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman" (1939). A double-duty sequel, the follow-up to both "Ghost of Frankenstein" and "The Wolf Man" was the only film in which Bela Lugosi, by then known to all as Count Dracula, played Frankenstein's monster.

* "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948). Who scared who? A funny film in which everybody played it straight, except Abbott and Costello.

* "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Mel Brooks' classic parody, and the only Frankenstein movie in which the monster knows carnal pleasure.

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