In the early days of talking pictures, studios produced alternate versions of movies for the foreign market, and this 1931 Spanish-language feature, shot at night after Bela Lugosi and company had gone home, has been touted by horror geeks as an improvement over the U.S. release. I can't go that far—the wild-eyed Carlos Villarias is no substitute for Lugosi as the Transylvanian count—but director George Melford does provide some interesting shots not found in Tod Browning's version, and the women's costumes are a little racier, heightening the sexual element so central to the story's appeal. Both versions are hampered by a stagy screenplay and bare-bones budget, but this is a fascinating companion piece to the better-known film. Subtitled.
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