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Wednesday, 6 October, 1999, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Fang-tastic new music for Dracula
Bela Lugosi
Fanging around: The 1931 version of Dracula is a horror classic
Horror classic Dracula has been given a make-over with a brand new soundtrack written by Oscar-nominated film composer Philip Glass.

The black and white chiller, which starred Hollywood legend Bela Lugosi as the infamous vampire, originally had only a limited amount of music.

The 1931 movie was the first 'talkie' version of Bram Stoker's gothic tale and was made in the very early days of sound recording technology.

Bela Lugosi
Horror legend Bela Lugosi: "I... am... Dracula"
The technical difficulties of adding an audio track to pictures meant that sound effects and music were used only sparingly.

The new score fits around this original material and the film's dialogue.

Philip Glass, who wrote the score for The Truman Show and won an Oscar nomination for his work on Martin Scorcese's Kundun, was careful not to spoil the film.

"I don't think the integrity of the film is affected because we created an element that didn't exist before," the American composer recently told the Sunday Telegraph.

It is intended to heighten the suspense of the horror classic, making the antics of Lugosi's bloodsucking count even scarier.

The film sees the Bram Stoker story transferred from Transylvania to London, where the vampire tries to seduce a neighbour's virginal daughter.

Director Tod Browning attempted to overcome technical limitations by flooding the studio with sinister "London" fog.

Philip Glass
Philip Glass adds music to the pioneering 'talkie' film.
The fog made up for poorly-constructed sets and hid much of the violent action, with shots of actual bloodsucking being prevented by censorship laws.

Browning also made a virtue of Lugosi's heavy Hungarian accent.

The opening line "I... am... Dracula... ", shot the actor into the top flight of horror stars, on a par with Lon Chaney - who was to have taken the lead prior to his untimely death.

A new version of the film, complete with the Glass score has been released on video.

The composer, whose other acclaimed works included the wordless documentary films Koyaanisquatsi and Powaqqatsi, will also perform the score live.

Glass gives the music its British premiere, played along with a screening of the film, at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 23 and 24 October.

See also:

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