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The 1930s in horror cinema showed how effective "talkies" could be. Universal, with beginning four major horror franchises (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man), and RKO, with King Kong, thrilled audiences.

Notable Stars

Bela Lugosi

After starring in Dracula, Lugosi turned down the chance to play Frankenstein's Monster for fear of being typecasted; however, most of the rest of his career was spent in Boris Karloff's shadow.

Lugosi created an iconic image of the Count in Dracula. He also delivered a chilling performance in Island of Lost Souls and White Zombie. He co-starred with Karloff in The Raven, The Invisible Ray and The Black Cat.

Boris Karloff

Frankenstein was not Boris Karloff's first film. It wasn't even his first horror film, but it certainly cemented the path of the rest of his career as a horror icon. Typically billed as simply "Karloff", all was needed to send chills up audiences spines was his last name.

He went on to star as Frankenstein's Monster four times in the 1930s. He also starred in The Mummy, The Ghoul, The Black Cat, and The Invisible Ray in the decade.

Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre is most often remembered as a heavy in crime movies; however, he was also a heavy pressence in horror. Starting with the German film M, he went on to do several macabre films such as Mad Love.

Notable Directors

James Whale

James Whale was a brilliant filmmaker beyond just horror. He will always be remembered for Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Those films are iconic, not only for their horror attributes, but also their special effects and mesmerizing sets.

Whale also had a flare for comedy relief. Bride of Frankenstein and The Old Dark House are two great early examples that horror films are doubly effective with a little chuckle now and then.

Tod Browning

Tod Browning will always be remembered for Dracula. But before Dracula, he was an established silent film director with films such as London After Midnight and The Unknown.

Probably his second best known film, and certainly most controversial, was Freaks. It was an initial failure, but has gained quite a cult status over the years and is remembered more favorably now. He also went on to direct Mark of the Vampire and The Devil-Doll.

Notable Films

Dracula Frankenstein The Mummy
The Invisible Man Bride of Frankenstein King Kong
Freaks The Old Dark House Island of Lost Souls
White Zombie M Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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