We’re Giving Away $50,000! Enter Now. See Official Rules


Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together


Leo - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between July 23 & August 22

Contests & Sweeps

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Most Popular


When Dracula Spoke Spanish

On its 80th anniversary, the Spanish version of the classic vampire story still captivates

Carlos Villarias, as Dracula, hovers over Lupita Tovar

— Photo: Courtesy of Everett Collection

En español | As evening fell on the gothic set of Universal Studios' Dracula, Bela Lugosi and the film crew left for the day. That's when the night shift began: a predominantly Latin American cast filming a Spanish-language version of the count's bloodthirsty quest.

See also: Hollywood targets Hispanic moviegoers.

Often dismissed as a mere remake of the Lugosi flick, Drácula was filmed under a much tighter schedule (three weeks, half the time as the English version) and budget (less than a fifth of its counterpart's $355,000). In spite of the production constraints, Drácula premiered at Mexico City's Cine Mundial in 1931 and became a box-office hit, playing across Latin America for the next two decades. The movie turned its female lead, 20-year-old Mexican Lupita Tovar, into a local celebrity, while Carlos Villarias, the Spaniard who played the count, went on to film more than 80 motion pictures.

Directed by the American George Melford, who spoke no Spanish and communicated with the cast via an interpreter, Drácula is more than a cinematic curiosity. In his review of the Lugosi film, critic James Beradinelli said the Spanish version "is in almost every way a superior production" to its "more popular English cousin." Berardinelli and other critics have hailed Melford's use of camera movement and atmospheric lighting as well as the comparatively uninhibited way he tackles the story's sexual undertones. Tovar's costumes are considerably more risqué than those worn by the female cast in the English film, and the vampire's novias (brides) act far more provocatively.

Eighty years later, the Spanish-language film continues to fascinate audiences. Grammy-nominated guitarist Gary Lucas composed a soundtrack that he performs at film festivals across Europe and the United States during screenings of the movie. "The Spanish Drácula is more atmospheric, the performances are better and it's a bolder production," says Lucas. "That is why it remains so inspiring."

You may also like: True West Side Stories.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.



Movies for Grownups Radio

Download weekly podcasts of celebrity interviews, entertainment news and more. Listen

Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
January 2015

A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points