October 20 is Bela Lugosi’s birthday.
Lugosi was born on October 20, 1882. And what better way to celebrate his birthday than by watching one of his movies this Halloween. DRACULA (1931) is the obvious choice, but if you’re looking for something different, there is no shortage of classic Bela Lugosi movies, films like MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932), WHITE ZOMBIE (1932) , and THE RAVEN (1935), with Boris Karloff, to name just a few.
You could watch him in his second most memorable role after Dracula, as Ygor in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939) and THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942).
Or if you really want to have fun, watch Bela in one of the many Grade Z horror movies he made, films which would be long forgotten if not for Lugosi’s appearance in them, films where in spite of their non-existent budget, bad acting, and often silly writing, Lugosi would bring his “A” game and save the show. Films like THE DEVIL BAT (1940), THE APE MAN (1943), THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942), or Lugosi’s only color film, SCARED TO DEATH (1947).
Or maybe you want to see Lugosi play a vampire in movies other than DRACULA. In that case, check out MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935) or THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1943), two films in which Lugosi delivers memorable performances as an undead.
Or you could watch Lugosi’s only other screen appearance as Dracula, in the comedy classic ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948). Lugosi delivers a commanding performance here, and like his fellow horror actors in this one, remains dignified and scary throughout, allowing Bud Abbott and Lou Costello to get all the laughs, although truth be told, Bela does get to deliver a few comedic zingers here and there, and they work.
Whichever you choose, be sure to invite Bela into your home this Halloween. Light some candles, eat some cake, make a wish, and settle in for a fun night at the movies with the Bela Lugosi movie of your choice.
Happy Birthday Bela!
Books by Michael Arruda:
TIME FRAME, science fiction novel by Michael Arruda.
IN THE SPOOKLIGHT, movie review collection by Michael Arruda.
FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, short story collection by Michael Arruda.