Universal Monster Marathon – Todd Browning

Although his death was announced in 1944, director Todd Browning didn’t actually die until 1962. The premature announcement was engineered by the director himself who wanted to live out his final years in anonymity.

Browning directed a string of films with Lon Chaney during the 1920’s but it is with Universal’s 1931 Dracula and the banned movie, MGM’s, The Freaks (1932) that he is best remembered. Freaks was not seen in the UK until some thirty years after its release and even today the film is deeply troubling.Freaks told the story of a group of carnival freaks with the parts played by actual carnival performers or, as they were known at the time, freaks.

Browning was hired by Universal Pictures to direct Dracula  (1931). Although Browning wanted to hire an unknown European actor for the title role and have him be mostly offscreen as a sinister presence, budget constraints and studio interference necessitated the casting of Lugosi and a more straightforward approach.


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