Director: Tod Browning
Screenwriter: Garrett Fort
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan
Depending on how you feel about modern-day vampires, Bela Lugosi's turn in director Tod Browning's classic adaptation of novelist Bram Stoker's Dracula is either the most important acting performance in horror history or the catalyst for infuriating crap.
We reside within the former camp, but also sympathize with the latter. Playing Count Dracula as a suave charmer, Lugosi established the blueprint for future undead ladies' men like Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer on HBO's True Blood) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson in the Twilight movies). To the influential Hungarian actor's credit, though, he was also able to scare us by simply leering over a woman who's sleeping in bed. The same can't be said for today's emo vamps. —MB