Every weekend we're watching movies together...whether you're in Pennsylvania USA, or Sydney Australia. It's a throwback! Back to the days when you had the anticipation for waiting till the weekend to see the classic horror or science fiction film that was listed in the TV Guide. The plan is to watch a movie at 7:30PM on Saturday night in your own time zone. Or, if you can't Saturday night...anytime during the weekend. Then, we'll all get together and e-mail our thoughts on the film...a few paragraphs...or simply a sentence if you'd like. They after-viewing reviews appear on our Creepy Classics/Monster Bash News Page. See the latest thoughts posted by viewers ther now.

Concept submitted by Mike Adams of Carteret, New Jeresey.

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Creepy Classics TV Movie This Last Weekend: MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935) Fan Comments (Spoilers):

Every week, readers here are selecting a movie to view...then we all try to watch it together utilizing our DVD/video library. This past Saturday night, many of us watched MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935). This was suggested by John DeGarmo of Georgia. Details about movie nights to come are HERE. Please include your name and location after your comments, so we can see how we're all joining together from diffeent locals around the globe!

Above: Hard to see here, but it's the eeries scene with Luna "flying" with huge bat wings through the great hall.

I was out of town for Easter this past weekend, but got a chance to watch this old, wonderful selection after returning. I'll be brief with my comments and let others speak there thoughts. Even though this movie is bashed a lot for having the "cheat" non-supernatural's still just amazing to watch. You have director Todd Browning re-creating his DRACULA with better photography and effects. Still, it's a different take too.

The opening graveyard scene with the old woman running ans screaching from an large bat is atmospheric and great. The perfectly oppressive howling wind soundtrack that seems to never end throug the movie, keeps you planted in this other world of horror. One of my favorite scenes is of Luna flying with bat wings inside the great hall of the castle ruins. More of this scene (and even creepier) can only be scene in the trailer for the movie.

The few things I don't care for: Lionel Barrymore's acting (overshadowed by Atwill, Lugosi, Borland and everyone else) and naturally the "cheat" ending since many of the things we see during the film just don't add-up to that ending.

Even with a few shortcomings THIS IS A GREAT movie to sit, unplug yourself and just watch. -Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA.

“Mark of The Vampire” will always have a warm place in my heart for being one of the very few classic horror films I have seen in a real theater. Back in 1972, a triple bill of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (the impressive Fredric March version), “The Mask of Fu Manchu” and “Mark of The Vampire” played what even then was known as the Old Paramount Theatre in Salem, MA. I was all of 12 and loved every second of every film!
“Mark” left its mark on me for sure; with its thick atmosphere of dread practically creeping off the big screen and enshrouding the theater. Luna scared the heck out of me, and yet left me with a life long fondness for pale skinned long haired petite brunettes!! Lugosi was of course Master. He spoke not a single line, and yet dominated the film. Everything gelled for me, from the crazy professor, the stoic policeman, to the eccentric villagers and town doctor.

As an adult viewing the film it’s hard to be partial, but I know even as a 12 year old I had an issue with the whole setup to get a murderer to confess. Perhaps I was simply disappointed that the vampires were not real! And as many reviewers do of this film, I find much of it improbable and perhaps even leaning towards intentional parody. Was Todd Browning spoofing his 1931 hit “Dracula” at MGM’s expense? Wasn’t Lionel Barrymore (Drew’s great uncle and brother to John) sending up Edward Van Sloan with his over the top Professor Zalin? Were not the butler and maid exaggerations of the sanitarium workers? And wasn’t the innkeeper the, well, yes he was the same actor from “Dracula”!! Clearly some moments were played for intentional fun (the cat in the suit of armor, for example) but I am now viewing much of the production as perhaps Browning’s nose thumb to MGM for not supporting “Freaks”. Who knows?

What I do know, is that when he settled down and went for the chills, he came up with chilling gold: The empty coffin of Sir Karrell, Luna flying in from the window half woman half bat, dead Sir Karrell at the organ, Luna in the mist, expressionless as the horse and carriage nearly topple at the sight of her, Count Mora appearing from the bat-mist and chasing the staff down the hall… yikes!!
Thanks for the great weekend selection!!
Paul Tait, Peabody, MA

This is probably the weirdest movie from the 30's in my opinion. It seems like a straight horror film and then turns into a supernatural crime drama with Bela Lugosi as a psuedo vampire and Carol Borland as a psuedo vampire woman who terrorizes the countryside.

Turns out they are actually investigating a series of murders and are doing this to flush the killer out.
Great stuff here and totally entertaining for it's brief 60 minute running time.

The Great Lionel Barrymore plays the Professor who is investigating the case and director Tod Browning does his usual good job.
An all round excellent way to spend 60 minutes!!
-Kevin Coon, Twin Falls, ID

Ron, Mark Of The Vampire is memorable, to me, for three reasons: Carroll Borland, Bela Lugosi, and Tod Browning.
I mention Carroll Borland first because she's the one who made the biggest impression on me. She's not called on to do very much in the film except to stand and stare, but that's more than enough. She plays Luna, the vampire daughter of Bela Lugosi's Count Mora. Her eyes are large and oval-shaped. The pallor is chalky white. Her robe blends in and out of the mist as if the two are one. She looks like a large undead kewpie doll. She stands in front of a gate as a carriage passes by. In the carriage are a man and a woman. Luna stares at them both as they stare back. Luna's eyes become impossibly wider. The man and woman scream and rush the carriage on. At various moments in the film, Luna is shown staring through a window at the heroine of the film. She is blank, unblinking, and expressionless. At another point in the film she is seen in the castle swooping down on giant bat-wings. The above mentioned scenes, totaled up, last no more than a few minutes, but they were enough to scare me and to keep me coming back. To this day, I can't walk by a large window without imagining Luna outside staring with her polarizing eyes.
Bela Lugosi, after Dracula, is again called on by Tod Browning to play a vampire. He looks like Dracula, but with a difference. He has a bloody wound on the side of his head. Like Carroll Borland, he is not called on to do very much except grimace occasionally and to walk malevolently with his daughter. There is one great scene, however, and that occurs when a maid and a butler see him at an open window. Through their eyes they see a bat disappear into the mist and from the mist appears Count Mora. He crouches and starts to stalk them. It all occurs in slow motion. It's a great scene and it never fails to jolt me because, in the scene, Bela Lugosi resembles and acts like a hungry animal.
Tod Browning continued a trend in this film that he started in Dracula. In the film Dracula there was a sweeping shot of the catacombs of Dracula's castle. There were several coffins and scurrying among them was an armadillo. In Mark Of The Vampire he upped the ante and showed not only a possum, but a crab as well. If Tod Browning's career had been more successful, he might have made another vampire film. If so, it would be interesting to imagine the animals he would use. Perhaps among the coffins of the undead there would appear a beaver, a moose, and a kangaroo.
For those who haven't seen Mark Of The Vampire, I won't spoil the ending. A lot has been said about the ending. Some say it spoils the movie, others aren't bothered. I fall under the latter category. It didn't bother me when I first saw it and, after several viewings, it still doesn't bother me. The bottom line is that Mark Of The Vampire is a visually entertaining film.
Kirk Smith
Manito, Illinois

Hey Bash Synchers!
I was late again watching this weeks movie, with the holidays I couldn´t pick it up from the post office till Monday afternoon. I had vague memories of seeing this many years ago on Creature Features, and recently had my second viewing not too long ago after reading an article about it in Scary Monsters. I confuse this with Return of the Vampire and wondered, where is the werewolf?
Now my comments on my third viewing of Mark of the Vampire.
Great cast- Barrymore, Lugosi, Atwill!
Creepy graveyard. Great sets, what do you expect from MGM.
Mr. Meek, he is always fun in the movies, great character actor.
The old cat in the suit of armor trick. How many times have cats been used for scares?
Very creepy entrance of Bela and his daughter. The animals, the howling wind...spooky!
Some ridiculous overacting by our friends in the coach. Good for a laugh.
Late arrival of our top billed actor, giving a hammy performance here.
This is no time for levity!
Cool effect with the daughter flying in.
What? It is all a trick to trap the baron? Kind of far fetched.
Bela talks, cute ending!
I found this film talkie, far fetched and a little slow. Bela is basically a wax figure till the end, almost insulting the little he has to do. Some creepy sets and scenes were good, but ruined by hammy actors talking too much.
Ken Blose, Mexico

Hi Ron:
I haven’t seen “Mark of the Vampire” for some time. I thought that since the group was watching it, I’d join in. The film was just as I remembered it-great to look at, but ultimately disappointing. The entire concept of having actors play vampire to scare a confession out of some one does not really make sense. I’ll give you an example: Elizabeth Allen is in the garden and sees Luna walking towards her. Luna leans over her and a scream is heard. The help comes running in to tell about Elizabeth’s attack. The problem I have with this is that she could have faked the entire incident without the use of Luna. There was never any real need for Lugosi or Borland.

I think that the scenes with the are probably some of most eerie ever produced in the 1930’s. The opening scene with Lugosi and Borland, while extremely atmospheric and scary is actually a rehash of Lugosi’s first scene in “Dracula”. Lugosi is creepy and full of power but he really has nothing to do. The bullet hole in his head looks great but it is not explained. In Famous Monsters, Forry stated that the explanation for the bullet wound was cut from the final print.

I thought that “Mark of the Vampire” was a well made and well acted film but the end makes all that came before illogical. Why would the actors make Luna fly when there was no need to do so? Why are they hanging around in the old castle when they should have been scaring the townspeople? These and other questions arose when the film reached its climax.

I'm sorry to say the “Mark of the Vampire” is a film that the parts are better than the sum. It’s a shame because if Tod Browning revealed that Lugosi and Borland were actually vampires not actors, the film could have been one of the great classics of the 1930’s.
-Bruce Tinkel, Edison, NJ

Hey Ron,
I thought the "Mark of the Vampire" was very well done as far as the atmosphere goes. When the bats would fly by, they looked almost real as can be expected for the times. There was no jerking of the strings like in the cheaper movies. Bela looked excellent. Barrymore was intense as always. A very nice choice to view this week. I had not seen it for quite a long time. "The Black Cat" was also a welcome call for last week's viewing. The "Murder in the Rue Morgue" is also a great Bela flick. I love it when the girl tied up is screaming, because she has gorilla blood put in her, and Bela tells her OH! shut up! Or maybe Oh be still! His wig is a little too much though. Eric the gorilla is great in that flick as well.
Herb Salisbury

Mark of the Vampire is just a great looking fun movie. It's a fast paced movie that's all over the place. Todd Browning's look of the film is impressive compared to DRACULA, even though the two films are similar. I love the fact that it even has real bats used in it. The fact that Mark of the Vampire is that remake of LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT makes it a stand. This maybe is the closest us horror fans will get to a complete look at LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT. I love the look and style of this moive still to this day. It's the best and I've got the tattoo to prove it

Scott Rhoan

P.S. - "Count Mora rocks!"

Hello All Creepy Synchmeisters out there in Czechoslovakia! (Where this film is supposedly set) After watching this film twice (once on Saturday evening and then again early Sunday afternoon- Yeah Folks!- I spent my early Easter Sunday watching monster movies!) Hey-When your single and mom has to work on the holiday- What else is there to do but feed your passion for all things horror and sci-fi?! Anyway, Folks, Here are my interesting observations about this 1935 oddity: First, Great Cast in this film (Lugosi, Borland,Barrymore, Atwill, Allan and Visiroff) Everybody above me (in their reviews) pretty much summed everything up nicely concerning Lugosi`s and Borland`s acting/roles in this film!--But I would like to add that Carol Borland`s seductive, eerie and evil potrayal of "Luna"(at least it appears so until the very disappointing give-away/cheat ending) especially in the scene when she attempts to bite Irena`s neck inside the mansion (until she is "rescued") by her lover!---Can be considered the forerunner of aggresive female vampiric roles in horror cinema-(especially when you see Luna hiss when discovered trying to attack her victim!) ---For reference in horror history folks, Compare this scene with the scene in Hammer`s classic "Horror Of Dracula" (1958) when a vampirized,evil Lucy (played by Carol Marsh) tries to seduce and then, attack an unsuspecting Arthur Holmwood (played by Michael Gough) before being stopped by Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) and his cucifix. By watching these scenes you can see similar styles in Carol Borland`s and Carol Marsh`s performances (at least to a degree!) This shows how wonderful a performance Carol gave in "Mark Of The Vampire" although her screen time is not great and she has few lines! (except when she says to Lugosi at the end "Sure-Sure-Take Off Your Makeup")

As far as the other actors go- I found that Lionel Barrymore did a nice job with his "Van-Helsing" type role! Lionel Atwill is always great! Bela Lugosi does a super job as always- and I ABSOLUTELY love his lines at the end of the movie! ("This vampire business has given me an idea for a new act" "I WILL BE THE VAMPIRE!" and also "I was greater than any real vampire!" (with saying this line he swings his cape around himself and the film fades out- THE END.) And it is always nice to see character actor Michael Visiroff (the inn keeper in "Dracula") do his thing. Also, an unsung award should go to Elizabeth Allan in this film, for she does a super job in potraying a woman who is terrified of the unknown (at least we think so at first!) An Interesting bit of trivia here folks: actor Jean Hershholt, who is in this film, is the uncle of actor Leslie Nielsen! ("Forbidden Planet") Concerning the comedy relief in this film, I did find it to be rather irritating! (except for the cat coming out of the suit of armor trick) Lastly, even though I did enjoy this film alot (It was a first time watch for me!) I did find the trick/switch ending EXTREMELY disappointing. I really wish director Tod Browning and MGM would have made this a 'STRAIGHT" VAMPIE FILM and not a "CHEAT". I think it would have been considered one of the best of the 1930`s horror films then. As is, it is still an interesting, yet flawed movie with some really cool images and neat performances! So until next time, folks, when I see you from the volcanic lands of Mexico to watch, analyze and discuss "The Black Scorpion" I bid all of you a "GOOD EVENING"!!

Dan Brenneis, Strongsville, Ohio - Monster Bash Staff Member and Lifetime FilmFan Extroadinairre.

Hi Dan, While Browning was re-making his LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (aka: THE HYPNOTIST), he definatrely was re-working it with elements of DRACULA, trying to make them better. Bringing in a "Van Helsing" rather than a multi-task detective (like in LONDON), the crawling animals in the crypt, the close by was a mix of LONDON and bettering DRACULA where he could. Except he used the "catch" ending from LONDON rather than the real supernatural from DRACULA. You are so right about the "hissing" strong vampire female. That "hiss" became a standard through the decades. -Ron Adams, Ligonier, PA

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