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?