In Transylvania, British real estate solicitor Renfield (Frye) is traveling in a speeding carriage to meet with his client Count Dracula. When he stops at a local inn he is warned about Dracula, but dismisses it as superstition. He hurries and catches his coach ride. At dusk several corpses, one male and several female, rise out of their coffins and walk in the pale moonlight as rats move about. Renfield's coach makes its rendezvous with the carriage from the castle and he switches coaches.
There is a sinister look to the Count's coachman whose face is covered except for his piercing eyes. The ride is rough and at one point Renfield looks out of the window to see no driver at the lead of the carriage, only a bat hovering over the seat. He is dropped off at the massive front doors to the dilapidated castle by the driverless coach. Renfield enters to find an enormous room with forty-foot ceilings, cobwebs everywhere and little in the way of charm or warmth. His host Count Dracula (Lugosi) descends the giant stone staircase and greets his guest. Dracula leads the way back up the stairs through a huge spiderweb without breaking a single strand, much to Renfield's amazement as he must swat it aside to follow.
Renfield is rightfully creeped out but must finish his business transaction. Upstairs Dracula is a charming if eccentric host. With the papers signed Renfield drinks drugged wine, feels lightheaded, opens the window to the veranda, sees a huge bat and faints. Three ghoulish young women in silken gowns appear and approach the prone and unmoving body on the floor. The Count enters from the veranda and glares at the women. They fearfully slink away as Dracula kneels over Renfield.
A wooden boat out at sea caught in a terrible storm is struggling, looking like it could capsize at any time. Below deck Renfield crouches next to a box talking in a crazy manner to Dracula. Dracula views the activity on deck. After Renfeld is shown laughing maniacally in the cargo hold of the ship as it is searched by the port authorities, a newspaper headline announces the Vesta coming into port at Whitby, England with it's crew dead and only one survivor, insane and sent to an asylum.
At night Dracula is out on the town when he kills a flower girl. Next he is at the theater when he, the new resident of Carfax Abbey, is introduced to his new neighbors Dr. Seward (Bunston), his daughter Mina (Chandler), her fiancé John Harker (Manners), and their guest Lucy (Dade). Dracula, later slips into Lucy's room and bites her neck. She is treated for a substantial blood loss but dies at the hospital. Professor Van Helsing (Van Sloan) is consulted and he theorizes that they have a vampire in their midst. Mina is bitten by the vampire then taken ill, describing nightmarish dreams.
Van Helsing meets Dracula at the Seward manor. When he sees no reflection of the Count in a mirror he is convinced he is the culprit and tries to confront him. Dracula retreats in a hurry. Renfield breaks out of his cell at the sanitarium. Mina is bitten again. Undead Lucy is preying on small children. Van Helsing exhausted is about to be set upon by the Count after Dracula makes threats. The professor holds out a cross and the Count quickly departs. Mina is changing to a vampire and tries to bite her beau Harker. She admits she has been with Dracula and drinking his blood. Later in her room she throws off her protective garland and Dracula carries her off.
Van Helsing and Harker pursue Dracula to Carfax Abbey. They see him carrying Mina toward Renfield on the stairs. Dracula lifts him by the neck and hurls him to his death for leading the men there. The men begin a search for Dracula and Mina. Van Helsing drives the stake into the Count as he lays in his coffin and Harker discovers Mina. The End.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Fletcher