I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I thought John Carradine was a nearly perfect actor to play Dracula. No, he never would have been as sheerly iconic as Messrs. Lugosi and Lee. Still, it’s hard to think of another role that Mr. Carradine was better suited for.
The genuine shame for me is that he never really got a great whack at the part. He played it twice for Universal in his prime, but his Dracula was a side story in both films.Even so, it’s an interesting interpretation. His Count is a being longing to escape his awful fate, but whose nature precludes him from doing so even when victory was nearly in his grasp. Bela’s Dracula has his brief fantasy about being really dead. Carradine’s Dracula, however, is probably the most explicitly tragic until Jack Palance’s.
He was also, I think, the first Dracula to be seen changing into a bat, via animation. The effect is far better known from Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, a rather more beloved film than the two ‘House’ films.