Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Lon Chaney, the “man of a thousand faces,” contributed two of these to his legendary, apparently lost silent, London After Midnight (1927), about Scotland Yard’s unraveling of a posh murder. Hypnosis is used to make the suspected criminal re-enact his crime; the victim’s doppelganger is also employed in the plot. The film is based on a story, “The Hypnotist,” by the film’s director, Tod Browning.
Browning’s sound-era remake, The Mark of the Vampire, is a truly terrifying horror film, but also an elegant, twisting mystery, a witty spoof of the vampire genre, and a lovely theatrical postmodernist exercise. Although bare-bones abbreviated (the version we have is twenty minutes shorter than the preview version), it is an intermittently brilliant film.
For some, the plot is something of a cheat; but this is not the case. Just as the doctor’s explanation at the end of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is insufficient to explain the depth of horror of all we have witnessed at the Bates Motel, Professor Zelen’s explanation of all the doings at Sir Karell Borotyn’s London mansion is insufficient to erase the film’s impression of supernatural horror. The film “plays fair,” by showing us the plot to trap the murderer, who is human and alive, not a vampire, rather than springing this on us only at the end; but the ham actor playing Count Mora, the alleged vampire: this chap that we see at the end: is he really the Count Mora who earlier appears in “human”-form after a bat flies in through a window, towards the camera, in a gust of fog? How might an actor in a threadbare traveling troupe have created this illusion? Just when does the “plot” kick in?

Mark of the Vampire (also known as Vampires of Prague) is a 1935 horror film, starring Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Béla Lugosi, Lionel Atwill, and Jean Hersholt and directed by Tod Browning. It is a talkie remake of Browning's 1927 silent London After Midnight with the characters' names and some circumstances changed.

Mark of the Vampire was originally 75 minutes, but was cut back to 60 minutes by MGM. Reportedly this was due to incestuous overtones - then unacceptable by the standards of the Production Code - between Count Mora (played by Lugosi) and his daughter. However, the audio commentary on the DVD makes no mention of incest but suggests that much of what was cut was comic material, particularly surrounding the maid.

Lionel Barrymore as Professor Zelen
Elizabeth Allan as Irena Borotyn
Béla Lugosi as Count Mora
Lionel Atwill as Inspector Neumann
Jean Hersholt as Baron Otto von Zinden
Henry Wadsworth as Fedor Vincente
Donald Meek as Dr. J. Doskil
Carroll Borland as Luna
Ivan Simpson as Jan
Franklyn Ardell as Chauffeur
Leila Bennett as Maria
June Gittelson as Annie
Holmes Herbert as Sir Karell Borotyn
Michael Visaroff as Innkeeper
James Bradbury Jr as Third Vampire
Egon Brecher as Coroner
Jessie Ralph as Midwife (scenes deleted)

Plot summary
Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) is found murdered in his own house, with two tiny pinpoint wounds on his neck. The attending doctor Dr. Doskil (Donald Meek) and Sir Karell's friend Baron Otto (Jean Hersholt) are convinced that responsible for the murder is a vampire, specifically Count Mora (Béla Lugosi) and his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland), while the Prague police inspector (Lionel Atwill) refuses to believe. Now his daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan) is the count’s next target. Enter Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore), an expert on vampires and the occult, who’s sent in to prevent her death. At the same time, secrets are revealed surrounding the circumstances of Sir Karell’s death.
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