“Vampires in the 20th century.” “Ridiculous. They’ll never believe that at the club.”
Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) is found dead. Murdered in his own house. He has two wounds on his neck that look like bite marks. Doctor Doskil (Donald Meek), and Sir Karell's friend Baron Otto (Jean Hersholt) believe it was the work of a vampire. Suspicions fall on Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland). Prague police inspector (Lionel Atwill) is on the case.
Borotyn's daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan) appears to be the count's next target. Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore) is an expert on vampires and the occult. He arrives to save Irena and solve the case. Irena is being harassed by vampires. There is much prowling around castles and dungeons looking for undead people.
“Mark of the Vampire” AKA “Vampires of Prague” was released in 1935 and was directed by Tod Browning. “Mark of the Vampire” is a remake of the film “London After Midnight” a silent film which is considered a lost film. It is believed to have been lost in the vault fire in 1967 at MGM. Both were directed by Tod Browning.
“Mark of the Vampire” was made only six years later and added Bela Lugosi. It is only 60 minutes long and is believed to be a remake of that original silent film. The movie is believed to have been about fifteen minutes longer. Theories abound as to why it would have been cut. Some say the deleted material was too comical, and some say the subject of it was an incestuous relationship between the count and his daughter.
The movie changes from a horror movie to a mystery movie. A lot of people were disappointed with the ending. I welcomed the change. To me, it started out boring. Your basic vampire movie with bats and cobwebs and spooky stuff. I’ve seen Dracula. I know how it goes. A lot of critics liked Lugosi and Borland wandering around. I found it silly. The movie was over acted. By everyone. Someone mentioned it reminded them of “Plan 9 from Outer Space”. I had no words to disagree. Lionel Barrymore and Lionel Atwill tiptoed around like they were on a mission. They weren’t. Even though I said I welcomed the plot change, it didn’t make the movie any better.
I will say that changing the movie from a vampire movie to a who-done-it upset the balance of the universe. It turned it from a blah movie to a bad movie. Even Lugosi said he found the ending ludicrous.
In a nutshell, as far as the ending is concerned, its stupid. I am a fan of Tod Browning, but, and I’m sorry to say, I thought that the controversy about what may have been cut from the movie, was more interesting than the movie. If you watch this movie you need to be prepared that your world will reverse itself. If you liked this movie, that’s wonderful. You obviously have a better understanding of synergy than I do.