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Rumor Spreading That Long-Lost ‘London After Midnight’ Has Been Found

You’ve seen the above image countless times, but I guarantee you’ve never seen the movie.

A few years before directing Dracula and Freaks, Tod Browning made a silent horror film titled London After Midnight. Starring Lon Chaney as “The Hypnotist,” the 65-minute film was distributed by MGM in December of 1927; though audiences saw it upon release, it’s likely that everyone who did is no longer with us. Sadly, the last known copy was destroyed in the infamous MGM vault fire of 1967, which tragically resulted in the loss of many silent and early sound films.

But maybe all hope is not yet lost.


Producer Robert Parigi (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) just took to his Facebook page to share a very exciting rumor that’s apparently swirling around the film community. Parigi wrote:

I’m noticing chatter that a 7-reel print of long-lost Tod Browning/Lon Chaney film LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (featuring Chaney’s iconic “Man in the Beaver Hat” Vampire) has been discovered in Spain! I had long heard rumors of a print in Cuba. Is this perhaps that print, now sent to Spain? 20 years ago, I heard rumors of a print in the U.S., and contacted the supposed owner offering to transfer it to (then state-of-the-art) D1, but when it came time to produce the print he backed out.

London After Midnight, remade by Browning himself as the Bela Lugosi-starring 1935 film Mark of the Vampire, was reconstructed back in 2002 using film stills and the original script, but it’s been decades since anyone has actually laid eyes on the original film. If the rumors are true, this would be HUGE news in the world of horror cinema, and in the film world at large.

In the film, reconstructed below…

The abandoned home of a wealthy man who supposedly committed suicide five years earlier is taken over by ghoulish figures – could they be vampires?



  • Saturn

    I’ve heard rumours if prints before – but if this is the real deal?
    This is HISTORIC.
    I hope – if it is real – it lives up to the dreams that we’ve had about it all these years.

    • Matt

      The cynical side of me says that maybe this one could be better off remaining lost. If it was any good, why had it not entered into the public consciousness like the other Universal Monsters, pre-1967? Don’t get me wrong, I would love to get the chance to see it, but I would not be all that surprised if it turns out to be less than epic. I truly hope that I’m wrong.

      • Ghost Robot Venture

        No film – let alone any cultural artifact – is better off remaining lost.

        • Matt

          Sorry, I was being metaphorical. As it says in my post, I would love to see it, and I definitely will if given the opportunity. I just will keep my expectations in check. Seeing a lost Lon Chaney performance is worth the viewing alone, even if the movie does turn out to be bad.

          • James Allard

            Chaney is always worth the time. Always. The film may suck like an Electrolux but his performance is always fascinating. Now, if I can find the score for The Penalty… if there is one…

      • Wheez Von Klaw

        It’s got Lon Chaney. I doubt it’s less than Epic.

      • Bryan Baugh

        In the old days, it was common for studios to “bury” original movies if a remake was to be released. Almost to the point of pretending the original never existed. They feared an audience would not be interested in a new movie that was just a remake of an old one. So when a remake came out, the original versions were taken out of circulation and hidden away like bad secrets. No more prints would be made and efforts to preserve them were nil. A minimal number of copies would be shoved to the back of the storage vaults to gather dust. Excess copies might be destroyed. The same thing happened to the 1932 Fredrich March version of “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde” when the 1940’s Spencer Tracy remake came out.
        When London After Midnight was remade in 1935 as “Mark of the Vampire”, the Chaney original was tucked away in a similar manner.
        It is also true that when sound films came out, movie studios assumed their backlog of silent features no longer held any commercial value, could no longer be released, and it was therefore a waste of money and storage space, to even keep copies around.
        On top of all that, London After Midnight was not a successful film at the box office. It got a lot of bad reviews from the critics.
        So, while we 21st Century horror film fans think it looks like it would be great, and can’t wait for it to be found so we can see it… From the studio’s point of view at the time, this film was considered pretty much worthless.

  • Ghost Robot Venture

    I don’t see that post on Parigi’s page.

  • Sean McLean

    Oh please oh please oh please….

  • silverfishimperitrix

    There was a British police procedural called Whitechapel a few years ago that did a two part episode where a man had a print of this movie and it drove him to kill – or did it? Anyway, if you ever get the chance to see Whitechapel do so, for it’s excellent.

    • Brett

      Oh, Whitechapel was awesome! Was there a Season 3? I only remember 2 and I don’t remember this one at all!

      • silverfishimperitrix

        It went for four seasons, and became increasingly more oriented toward the supernatural as it went along. You can only find the DVD’s in Region 2 format, though. It’s too bad, because it was one of the better character driven police procedural’s ever.

        • Brett

          I watched the first two on BBC America. Wonder if it is on demand somewhere, streaming or whatever. I will have to poke around – would love to see the other seasons.

          • silverfishimperitrix

            It’s strange that it’s so hard to find. It was a pretty popular show in England its first couple of seasons, and I know it played here on BBC America, because that’s where I first saw it. This may be one of those shows like “Terriers” that has its little cult following while the average person doesn’t even know it exists.

          • Shogg

            All 4 seasons seem to be available on Hulu if you have that available to you

  • Horrible Day

    Wow, a shame that this isn’t true, I’ve always wanted to see the original film

    • Meisha’s Taint

      How do you know it’s not true?

      • Horrible Day


  • pablitonizer

    I’ve always thought The hypnotist was part of “Gottlieb’s Class of 1812” arcade game. Used to love it when I was a kid!

  • THGrimm

    This is unfortunate. I have a wonderful 12 inch doll of Chaney’s character, but to see the movie would be a dream.

  • James Allard

    IF this ever turns up, I will do pretty much anything to see it. Hell, a friend of mine and I drove from South Bend, Indiana to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see the restored version of Metropolis… Hell, I would go to the White House and watch with …

    ….almost anything.

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