The Vampire Bee in Dracula (1931) (film still from Dracula)

Dracula (1931)

Watching Tod Browning’s 1931 version of Dracula for the first time can be an odd experience. Apart from seeing Bela Lugosi laying the groundwork for eighty years of imitations, there are some real double-take moments, like hearing those classic lines spoken without irony (“Listen to them… Children of the night… What music they make.”), and seeing Dwight Frye as Renfield laying the groundwork for Andy Serkis’s Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and, well, and the vampire bee…

The vampire bee appears near the beginning, when we first see the Count’s castle and the Weird Sisters are waking up. After a couple of shots of the women beginning to emerge from their coffins, there’s a brief shot of what appears to be a bee (or maybe a wasp?) crawling out of its own, teeny-tiny coffin.

A report from a fantasy convention in 2000 does mention the bee, and suggests that it might be intended to be a giant bee in a regular-sized coffin. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t look that way. It’s almost cute.

Lacking any definitive explanation of the bee, why its there, and whether it’s a giant bee or a tiny coffin, it’s probably best not to even get started on the armadillos that appear a moment later…

Armadillos in Dracula

2 Responses to “The Vampire Bee in Dracula (1931)”

  1. Norm

    The critter is what’s known as a potato bug,aka a Jerusalem cricket. They’re a really disgusting bug that can be as large as a small mouse. I guess that the coffin was supposed to be full sized and that the bug had crawled in for a snack.

  2. Sean Pultz

    That’s a potato bug, not a bee!

    The reason for the Armadillos was that for reasons of censorship rat were not to be seen in film.

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