Mark of the Vampire (1935)

A vampire murder mystery? Sure! Why not?

So, the intentions of this movie are perhaps a bit unclear. You have the famed director of Dracula, Tod Browning, teaming up with the man who is the embodiment of the world’s most famous vampire, Bela Lugosi, for a…non-Dracula vampire movie. And the pair did not reunite under the studio of Universal, but rather for MGM. So, only four years after Dracula came out, was Mark of the Vampire attempt at trying to capitalize on popularity of the Dracula/vampire character? Perhaps. And if it that is so, I would say that Mark of the Vampire was a solid and fun effort. But with the ending of the film, is it actually a Dracula spoof from Browning and Lugosi? You can decide for yourself. But either way, Mark of the Vampire has lots of mystery and fun packed into it.

"has lots of mystery and fun packed into it"

 There’s been a murder. Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) is found dead in his home, slumped over at his desk, with two tiny marks on his neck. There can be only one conclusion, according to Dr. Doskil (Donald Meek) and Baron Otto von Zinden (Jean Hersholt): a vampire did it. The town, the servants, Sir Karell's daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan), and her fiancé, Fedor (Henry Wadsworth) all descend into panic as they try to evade the vampire’s next attack. And the next victim? None other than Irena. They summon Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore), who is an expert all things vampires and occult, to help keep the suspected Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland) from making Irena their next victim.

So, while the main story comes off as pretty straight forward, the film itself takes a couple of interesting (and actually rather illogical) turns. One being, during one of the Professor’s attempts to try and halt the vampires’ next attack, he suddenly shifts his focus to the Baron Otto as the main suspect. He hypnotizes the Baron and makes him reenact the night that Sir Karell died. While this is certainly a successful trick in actually finding out how Sir Karell was truly murdered, it kind of comes out of nowhere. But while watching it, I found myself not truly bothered by the sudden and illogical turns. For a film like this, I don’t think it really matters a lot. I still found myself thinking that, if anything, the movie is entertaining and fun. And honestly, if you think too hard about it, then you won’t enjoy it. So just turn off all logic and let the gothic murder mystery do its thing.Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Now, I don’t want to spoil the ending, but that serves as a big issue for a lot of people who have seen Mark of the Vampire. The ending is a twist and many feel it ruins the picture, which I do understand. The film already takes a couple of questionable turns, and the ending really does disservice much, if not all, of the picture. (Especially the whole part about the girl’s father being seen as a vampire.) But again, for me personally, I didn’t mind it too much. I actually thought it was kind of funny. In fact, it adds to the story’s ridiculousness factor and it really makes me think that this film is indeed a spoof on vampire movies. Were they just making fun of themselves? That is the only logical conclusion I can come to.

It's entertaining. It’s cool. It’s only sixty minutes, and you get to see Lugosi do what he does best. I wouldn’t call it a classic, but it is a neat to see since the Warner Brothers Archive Collection have unearthed it and have given it a stunning new Blu Ray release.

3/5 beers

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- October 11, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Blood-sucking vampires are on the loose, terrorizing the frightened residents of a tiny village in the long-lost horror masterpiece. Directed by master of the macabre Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Mark of the Vampire is a classic shocker with a startling twist.


For a film of its age, the new 1080p Mark of the Vampire restoration is pretty remarkable. But being that it was taken from the original nitrate negative and put through a 4K scan, it is no surprise that were able to get such great results from that source. The clarity, depth, and film grain are all balanced quite perfectly. There is no noticeable marks of dirt or scratches, and the image is stabilized well. A fantastic transfer.


As with the video, the audio track is remarkably clean and sharp. With the DTS-HD 2.0 monoaural track, there are no real noticeable signs or hissing, buzzing, or any other issues. The depth and range is somewhat limited with only the two channels, but this track more than gets the job done without any issues.



  • Commentary by Genre Historian Kim Newman and Stephen Jones

Special Features:

A couple of old MGM shorts, a trailer with the legendary Lugosi talking right to you, and a very informative and education commentary track all serve as great additions to this Blu Ray release.

  • Short – A Thrill for Thelma
  • Cartoon – The Calico Dragon
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details

Mark of the Vampire (1935)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
60 mins
: Tod Browning
Guy Endore; Bernard Schubert
Lionel Barrymore; Elizabeth Allan; Bela Lugosi
: Horror
Undead...yet living on the Kisses of Youth!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Yes, the vampires are hungry too for their supper!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 26, 1935
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 11, 2022.
Synopsis: ir Borotyn (Holmes Herbert), a prominent Prague resident, is discovered murdered in his home, with all indications pointing to a vampire assault. The victim's friend, Baron Otto (Jean Hersholt), and the physician who analyzes the body are certain that the vampire is the mysterious Count Mora (Bela Lugosi), or perhaps his daughter (Carroll Borland), but receive little help from the law. Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore), an expert in the occult, is called in to assist with the investigation.


Mark of the Vampire (1935)