Cardboard in DRACULA

How did I never notice this before? There’s this big honkin’ ugly piece of cardboard in Universal’s 1931 classic DRACULA. It’s attached to a lamp. I can only figure that I was so focused on Bela Lugosi as the titular vampire Count that I never saw anything else. Except for the armadillos. I did see the armadillos. Even as a little boy, watching DRACULA for the first time, I remember wondering why there were armadillos in Dracula’s castle. It’s just like with NOSFERATU and the hyena. Why did Graf Orlock transform into a hyena instead of a traditional wolf? Or if that wasn’t Graf Orlock in disguise, why would there be a wild hyena running around loose in the German countryside?

Anyway, the cardboard. It wasn’t a prank, something some stagehand taped onto the lamp and nobody noticed it and it ended up immortalized in film. It turns out the piece of cardboard is actually mentioned in the script. It’s supposed to be there. The nurse puts it in place to shield Mina’s eyes from the brightness of the lamp. The reason we keep seeing it with no explanation as to why it is there is due to mistakes made in editing. We don’t see the nurse putting it in place. The real question, though, to my mind, is, couldn’t they have found something that looked better onscreen than a ratty old piece of cardboard? Perhaps there is something magical about that cardboard, a secret shared by only it and Dracula himself?

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!


  1. Hi. Funny thing. I also never saw that cardboard and I watched DRACULA a lot. I guess when things are just there the mind takes them for real and puts no attention to them. We maybe see strange things every day but at the same time we do not. You also mentioned the hyena in the German countryside in NOSFERATU. But if I’m not mistaken the film was shot at real places following Stoker’s book. So I think it rather is a Rumanian countryside? But that shot was probably taken at a Berlin zoo. So who knows. :D

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