Screening of a 1931 rare, alternative version of "Dracula"

Noted California-based author, filmmaker and horror historian David J. Skal will introduce a screening of a rare 1931 alternative, Spanish version of the movie Dracula.

DALLAS (SMU) — Noted California-based author, filmmaker and horror historian David J. Skal will introduce a screening of a rare 1931 alternative, Spanish version of the movie Dracula, followed by a Q&A and signing of his new book, Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote DRACULA.   

The Spanish Dracula was filmed with a separate Spanish-speaking cast (Carlos Villarias played the Count) for distribution in Latin America. It was made at the same time as the famous Bela Lugosi version; the Spanish cast shot at night on the same sets after director Tod Browning and Lugosi had wrapped for the day. Just as the transition from silent films to talking pictures was occurring, there were several attempts in Hollywood to do such international films (including two separate versions of The Blue Angel (1930) with Marlene Dietrich, made twice with the same cast, once speaking English, then German).

The director of the Spanish Dracula, George Melford, actually spoke no Spanish - he had to direct his entire cast through an interpreter. And many long shots of Dracula alone are of  Lugosi, not Villarias - the  Spanish version used outtakes from the English version to save money.

David J. Skal located a missing reel of the Spanish film in the Cuban film archives in the early ’90s. The film was not widely seen or even known until after Universal re-released it with the restored footage in the mid ’90s. For more information about the lecture and film screening, call 214.768.2129.

About David J. Skal 

David J. SkalA published writer of short fiction since his early college years, Skal authored three well-received science fiction novels:  Scavengers (1980), When We Were Good (1981) and Antibodies (1987). His long-standing interest in Dracula and his extensive contacts in the theatre world led to his first nonfiction book, Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen (1990), followed by The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror (1993).

Many other books followed, including V Is for Vampire (1995); Dark Carnival: The Secret World of Tod Browning (1995, with Elias Savada); the Norton Critical Edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1996, co-edited with Nina Auerbach); Screams of Reason: Mad Science and Modern Culture (1997); and the monumental anthology Vampires: Encounters with the Undead (2001), the largest such illustrated/annotated compendium ever published.

Skal is also a documentary filmmaker, and wrote and co-produced segments for the A&E Network’s award-winning series Biography, contributing scripts chronicling the lives and careers of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Angela Lansbury (with whom he had worked during his theatre career). In 1999, he was tapped by Universal Studios Home Video for a series of 12 original DVD documentaries exploring the legacies of the studio’s classic horror and science fiction films. His recent/current projects include Claude Rains: An Actor’s Voice (University Press of Kentucky), Romancing the Vampire (Whitman Publishing, 2009) and Citizen Clone: The Morphing of America (Faber and Faber, forthcoming). He lives and writes in Glendale, California.

For more information about David Skal, visit his website at