"I felt her deadly cold breath on my throat. I must have fainted. I knew no more..."
In 1935, Tod Browning, the "Master of the Macabre," scripted, directed, and produced a new, eagerly awaited film, The Vampires of Prague
, starring Béla Lugosi as the "Dracula-with-another-name" Count Mora, and Carroll Borland as his daughter, Luna Mora (the Bat-Woman), for MGM in 1935, which was essentially a remake of two Browning films the immortal 1931 Dracula
with Lugosi and the lost and most sought-after vampyre movie of all-time, the 1927 London After Midnight
with Lon Chaney. Unfortunately, due to the "immoral" content of the film, MGM heavily edited and cut many essential parts for censorship, added a terrible and silly ending where it reveals the vampyres as "fake" oye!
, and renamed it Mark of the Vampire
. MGM censors deleted every scene or dialogue that would portray the so-called "obscene" references of the angst-ridden, psychoanalytic underpinnings of the incestuous relationship between the two vampyres and any references to the bloody murder-suicide "mark," which the title referred to, on Mora's right temple made no sense whatsoever in the film when it was released. Nevertheless, despite thick Gothic theatrics, the film was now squeaky-clean. And yet, apart from my complaints, it remains a cult classic.
If anything, Mark of the Vampire
would have been one of the first vampyre film in Hollywood that portrayed vampyres as sensitive, fallible creatures in tune to their own emotions if it was not for the "angry villagers" who removed all the sex and suicide on the cutting-room floor! This incident must has been terribly unhappy for the Master of the Macabre, who was given trite for his genius, so I shall here
"re-vamp" this film and set things right, making it more loyal to the original idea where it is unsettling and horrific but also pitiful. This is an old pastiche idea I did years ago for this
Tod Browning-Diane N. Tran "uncensored" version of The Mark of the Vampyr
:The Hungarian-Transylvanian Count Vlacheslav Mora was a lonely, gentlemanly widower affronts his own shame as he pulls the cock of a pistol down and fingers the tiny trigger in his hand. Flashbacking, long ago, Mora's wife, Izabela, had fell victim to an ancient vampyre who has plagued to family for centuries in Hungary and Transylvania. And he was forced to kill his beloved in order to prevent her from murdering their daughter who was but an infant at the time. This incident left him traumatised.
Fifteen years later, Lady Luna Mora had blossomed, raven-haired and resplendent, so alike her mother, but her idyllic life came to tragedy when the vampyre returned for her. To see his daughter go through the same fate as her own mother tortured Mora, but vowed that he would not repeat his mistake and have his sole companion on Earth to suffer and be damned to Hell. He sought the world for a "cure" for his daughter. From potions to counter-curses, nothing; Mora even destroyed the vampyre who cursed her, but to no avail. Despite his noble labourings, to his regret, he became more an accomplice than a saviour. He scoured for animals, pigs and cattle and horses, for her to feed upon but did not slated her lust and he kidnapped "undesirables" to repress any suspicions; yet when the temptation for blood became too much the vampyress, Mora would offer his wrists to ease her pain. He had sacrificed and surrendered anything and everything in his power for her, but there was no "cure" and Mora, overwrought with blame, knew there was but one other choice left he would have to kill her.
In opposition, however, Luna had adjusted contentedly to her "undead" existence its pains, its pleasures, its power, and its death. To save her life, and to save her father more grief, she met her father in the solitude of his study, clothed in her mother's fineries. Indistinguishable to his late wife, Luna impassioned her own father, forlorn and heartsick, undraping before his eyes and awakening him with kisses. She beguiled and bedded his father and he awoke a chained prisoner. And, for the next two years, Luna reigned supremacy over Mora, ravishing his body and draining him into weakness and susceptibility, so he could pose no threat against her. He was father, lover, and slave to her, reluctantly yet willingly! With one another, they found deathless companionship and intimacy, a type of peace, but the incestuous depravity of their affair consumed Mora's conscience more and more. Is peace worth the corruption of a soul? How much blood will satisfy?
Besieged with his remorse, the price of peace for one mind was too high and Count Mora knew what to do. Mora seduced his daughter near the river one night and forced Luna's head into the water to drown. He pulled a pistol to his hand and fires into his right temple; falling backward, he was sprawled upon the castle floor, as his nerves twitching and the room fell into blackness. Luna, however, was not killed as she stormed out of the water in rage and vengeance for his treachery, but was stunned to find him in a pool of his blood barely alive. She quickly fed upon him and ministered her own blood to him. Mora, unwittingly, awoke with his own terrible fate sealed for an eternity as a vampyr. He would bear the devilish "mark" upon his right temple and forever be hers...
Want more on my Tod Browning-Diane N. Tran's The Mark of the Vampyr
? Stay tune same bat-time, same bat-channel!
Models - Béla Lugosi
| Models - Carroll Borland
Medium - 6B graphite.The Mark of the Vampyr
© Diane N. Tran (and Tod Browning).Mark of the Vampire
(1935) © MGM.