Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bela Lugosi is Still Dead

No stakes were involved when Bela Lugosi died on this day in 1956, but the actor remained so closely associated with the character that made him famous that he was buried in his full Dracula regalia. 55 years and about a zillion other vampires down the road, Lugosi is still the guy we most think of whenever a bat flaps or a fang draws blood. To commemorate the Count's passing, here are nine spookifying tributes to the greatest blood-biter of them all.

1. A Few Minutes with Dracula (1931)

The film that made Lugosi a legend, launched the talking-horror era, and made widow's peaks and big, gold medallions synonymous with children of the night.

2. White Zombie (1932)

The first major zombie flick was Lugosi's third major horror role, and his wonderfully named Murder Legendre is a creepy, commanding successor to the Count.

3. Intimate Interviews (1932)

"The Mystery Man" flirts a bit in this stagey piece filmed for the "Intimate Interviews" series.

4. "Bela Lugosi's Haunted House" from "The Abbott & Costello Show"

A year before he encountered the duo in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, Lugosi larfed it up with Bud and Lou on this installment of their radio show. Bela makes his first appearance in Part II.


5. Vampire Over America (1952)

Back in the U.S. after shooting Vampire Over London, Lugosi discusses being typecast in horror and his not-so secret desire to develop into a comedy star.

6. Bela commands "Pull the strings!" in Glen or Glenda (1953)

Lugosi's partnership with z-movie king Ed Wood had little in the way of dignity, but he still managed to radiate the power he brought to Dracula in this famously goofy sequence from Glen or Glenda.

7. Bride of the Monster (1955)

Bride of the Monster gave Lugosi his most sizable role in some time, and his presence makes it one of Ed Wood's most delightful disasters.

8. Bela is Back (1955)

Lugosi made history of a different sort when he became the first celebrity to publicly check himself into rehab. Here he is morphine-free and chatting about what would be his final (albeit abbreviated) role in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

9. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus (1979)

Still relevant after all these years...

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