Treatment differs from both the stage version [by Deane and John Balderston] and the original novel [by Bram Stoker]. On the stage it was a thriller carried to such an extreme that it had a comedy punch by its very outre aspect. On the screen it comes out as a sublimated ghost story related with all surface seriousness and above all with a remarkably effective background of creepy atmosphere.
Early in the action is a barren rocky mountain pass, peopled only by a spectral coach driver and shrouded in a miasmic mist. Story proceeds thence into a tomb-like castle. In such surroundings the sinister figure of the human vampire, the living-dead Count Dracula who sustains life by drinking the blood of his victims, seems almost plausible.
It is difficult to think of anybody who could quite match the performance in the vampire part of Bela Lugosi, even to the faint flavor of foreign speech that fits so neatly. Helen Chandler is the blonde type for the clinging-vine heroine, and Herbert Bunston plays the scientist deadly straight, but with a faint suggestion of comedy that dovetails into the whole pattern.