Frankenstein (lost Bela Lugosi test reel footage for Universal sci-fi horror film; 1931)
Universal's Frankenstein is one of the most popular, iconic, and beloved horror films of all time. One of the biggest draws to the film is Boris Karloff's sympathetic performance as the Monster, which has become one of the most recognizable portrayals of the Monster. However, prolific horror actor Bela Lugosi was originally going to play the monster instead.
While filming Dracula, Universal decided to start their next project which became Frankenstein. Lugosi was the first actor to be cast as the Monster, and he was quite interested in the role, going as far as creating his own makeup. However, his design was rejected.
Several test reels with Edward Van Sloan (Dr. Waldman) and another which clocked in at 20-minutes were filmed on Dracula sets and directed by Robert Florey. After these tests, Lugosi rejected the non-speaking and heavily made-up role, stating that he was a star in his country and wouldn't "be a scarecrow here". After the film was released, Lugosi regretted his decision.
Lugosi's test reels were not released in any form and eventually faded into obscurity. The reels have likely either deteriorated or have been destroyed, but other copies may still exist in an archive.
- Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (lost Bela Lugosi monster dialogue of Universal horror film; 1943)
- Frankie Stein (lost production materials for unreleased Spark Plug animated film; 2008)
- Il Mostro di Frankenstein (lost silent horror film; 1920)
- Life Without Soul (lost silent film adaptation of "Frankenstein"; 1915)
- The Curse of Frankenstein (lost acid bath scene footage of Hammer horror film; 1957)