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My Top Ten Bela Lugosi Films

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My favorites in chronological order:



1. Dracula (1931) He is still very creepy and sinister in this role, my favorite scene may be where confronts Van Helsing about Mina, saying "my blood now flows through her veins"

2. Murders In the Rue Morgue (1932) He is a depraved scientist using an ape to commit murders. A still shocking scene involves the torture of a woman of the streets (Arlene Francis) tied to a tilted cross.

3. White Zombie (1932) The original Walking Dead film. Lugosi gives one of his more sinister portrayals with several shots of his hypnotic eyes.

4. The Black Cat (1934) He is a more sympathetic character as a doctor seeking vengeance against evil devil worshiper Boris Karloff.

5. The Raven (1935) He plays the most raving mad doctor on film  here. He is a Poe obsessed surgeon jilted by a woman, he tries to get revenge on her and her family and friends by blackmailing gangster Karloff into taking part in his plan.

6. The Invisible Ray (1936) Bela plays one of his most normal roles in this science fiction thriller, as a brilliant doctor dealing with crazed scientist Karloff who is turned into a radioactive killer.

7. Son Of Frankenstein (1939) He plays the broken necked, snaggle toothed Ygor, who gets the Monster (Karloff) to do his bidding. Bela is unrecognizable in this part and his performance is excellent.

8. The Human Monster (1939) One of Lugosi's most evil roles as a doctor who murders his patients for insurance money.

9. Invisible Ghost (1941) Lugosi plays a kindly man who is turned into a homicidal maniac under some sort of hypnotic spell. This is low budget but underrated film with some haunting images.

10. Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) This was the second and last time he played Dracula on film. Although a comedy, Bela maintains his dignity and has great presence as the Count, especially in the hypnosis scenes with Costello. 

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My ten favorite Bela Lugosi movies in order of preference:

The Black Cat (1934)
The Wolf Man (1941)
Dracula (1931)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Island of Lost Souls (1932)
The Invisible Ray (1936)
Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)
The Black Camel (1931)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
The Return of the Vampire (1943)

I've yet to see either The Human Monster (1939) or Invisible Ghost (1941) on the O.P.'s list. White Zombie (1932) on that same list would have been on my list if we were going for a top dozen.

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My ten favorite Bela Lugosi films, in alphabetical order:


The Black Cat

Devil Bat


Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

The Invisible Ray

Island of Lost Souls

Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Raven

Return of the Vampire

White Zombie




"Tell me, Mother Riley, what are your favorite Bela Lugosi films?"

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  • 4 weeks later...





"Tell me, Mother Riley, what are your favorite Bela Lugosi films?"


"I can tell you one thing, dearie. This film isn't one of them."




1. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). A great horror spoof in which Lugosi brought an aristocratic dignity to the proceedings with his second and final performance in his most famous role as the Count.




2. The Black Cat (1934). Lugosi brought an ambiguity to his role (is he a good guy or a bad?) to Edgar Ulmer's dark horror treat; my favourite of his co-starring efforts with Karloff (one of his most bizarre characterizations, too).


3. White Zombie (1932). A beautifully understated Lugosi performance as the zombie master in this atmospheric, melodramatic treat.


4. Chandu the Magician (1932). Great serial-like fare, with Bela's over-the-top full throated portrayal of mastermind Roxor a predecessor for later James Bond villains.


5. Island of Lost Souls (1932). Grim, dark adaption of the H. G. Wells novel, with Charles Laughton a memorably perverse Dr. Moreau. Bela's cry of "Are we not men?" stays with you, even though he doesn't have much to do in the film.


6. The Raven (1935). Lugosi at his most deliciously over-the-top as a mad plastic surgeon. Best not to have this character ticked with you before he performs any surgery, though.


7. Son of Frankenstein (1939). One of Bela's best character turns as Igor, stealing all his scenes from a great cast of scene stealers.


8. Dracula (1931). Lugosi at his most magnetic as the majestic title character. The early castle scenes still make the first portion of this stagey production a treat.


9. The Wolf Man (1941). Bela makes his small part as the gypsy accursed with lycanthrophy count. Great cast, including both Lon Chaney Jr and Maria Ouspenskaya in cherished roles.


10. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). Fun film, even if Lugosi's own performance as the Monster is clearly not one of his best.

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It's not a Top Ten because I like everyone's choices.  I think Lugosi's best performance was in SON OF FRANKENSTEIN.  Ygor was a great character.  After that, I go with Dracula, White Zombie,The Black Cat  and The Raven.   I also like his work in BODY SNATCHER and ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. He had smaller roles in these but they were memorable performances.

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