A remake of Browning's own silent London After Midnight (transported to Czechoslovakia), this semi-parodic vampire thriller creaks here and there, but still has enough style to warrant an honoured place among early horror films. Lashings of lore and atmosphere (strange noises, dancing peasants, bats, spiders and cobwebs) embellish a far-fetched but amusing tale of strange deaths at a sinister castle. It's hard to decide who overacts the most, with Barrymore, Atwill and Lugosi all candidates, though the 'surprise' denouement provides Lugosi with an excuse of a sort. But a real touch of class is present in James Wong Howe's magnificent photography, not to mention Carol Borland's stunning apparition as a vampire.
Cast and crew
Guy Endore, Bernard Schubert