Dracula (partially found epilogue scene of Universal horror film; 1931)

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Dracula1931poster.jpg

Advertisement poster for the film.

Status: Partially Found

Universal's Dracula is a 1931 horror film loosely based on the 1924 play of the same name directed by Tod Browning and Karl Freund starring Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing. The film is seen as a classic by many and is often regarded as the film that made Dracula a popular icon. The initial theatrical run of the film featured an epilogue by Sloan, similar to the prologue of Frankenstein, where he directly said to the audience:

"Just a moment, ladies and gentlemen! A word before you go. We hope the memories of Dracula and Renfield won't give you bad dreams, so just a word of reassurance. When you get home tonight, and the lights have been turned out, and you are afraid to look behind the curtains — and you dread to see a face appear at the window — why, just pull yourself together and remember that after all, there are such things as vampires!"

When Dracula was reissued in 1936, The Motion Picture Code, which worked to censor films in order to keep certain morals, was being taken very seriously. As such, the epilogue was removed to avoid contention from religious groups. The epilogue was never restored for any future releases.[1]

A few stills and a brief clip of the epilogue are featured in the 1999 documentary Road to Dracula. In September 2021, David J. Skal, director of Road to Dracula and noted writer and historian known for his work in the horror genre, was contacted by the Loose Leaf Celluloid podcast and asked about the state of the footage. According to Skal, Universal acquired the only known copy of the sequence from the British Film Institute by the late nineties. As it features "several raggedy jump cuts" and is missing portions of the soundtrack, "Universal’s quality control people deemed it 'unusable' and refused to let it be used in its entirety, so I came up with the solution you see in my documentary." He also stated that a restoration is possible, though he doubts one is likely due to costs.[2][3]

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Footage of the epilogue and explanation of the scene (7:53).


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