James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness". I remember in the early 90's when the Universal monster movies would come out on VHS, there was this one that they advertised as a 'Collector's Treasure'; the Spanish version of "Dracula".
At first I didn't understand why it was such a big deal. I figured it was just "Dracula" translated in Spanish. But no – Universal simultaneously shot two versions of the same movie. The Spanish version has the same script and the same sets but the cast is entirely different. The English version is by far the most famous. Who could possibly not know Belá Lugosi?
Dracula (English): I am… Dracula.
James: But would you believe the Spanish version is actually better? For example if we look at the scene in the English version where Renfield first meets Dracula we see it's just a simple, static shot. But in the Spanish version the camera actually moves, making the scene more dramatic – and this is just one example. It just overall has more production value. There's many added scenes that you don't see in the English version and it also shows a little more violence.
(Spanish Dracula pushes Renfield over the edge of the stairs)
James: And Helen's dress is much less revealing than Lupita Tovar's. It all shows how less uptight Spanish audiences were. When you think of the English version it's hard to forget such demented, magnificent performances like Lugosi and Dwight Frye.
Renfield (English): Rats… Rats… Rats!
James: But the Spanish actors also do a great job, unique amongst themselves. Pablo Álvarez Rubio is full of frantic energy. Every second he's on screen you can't take your eyes off him.
(Spanish Renfield laughs maniacally)
James: Carlos Villarías makes a great Dracula. The best part about him is his face; he looks completely crazy! It's very much different from the Lugosi stare but creepy in its own way and hilarious. It's almost impossible not to prefer Lugosi…
Renfield (English): Aren't you drinking?
Dracula: I never drink… wine.
James: When comparing these movies it makes you just wish Lugosi was in this movie instead. But either way the Lugosi Dracula is a beloved classic that improves every time you see it. So if you're very familiar with it, it only makes the Spanish version even more fascinating because it's like seeing the same movie in a new way.
Dracula (Spanish): I never drink… wine.
James: And for that it's really a treat.