Today in Movie History: February 12

Frank Langella — who played a pretty mean Dracula himself — summed it up best. “It’s Bela’s cape. The rest of us are just keeping it warm for him.” Horror legend Bela Lugosi starred in the role that defined his career (and to a large extent defined the character) in Tod Browning’s Dracula, which premiered today in 1931.

In other news… it came ten days late, but considering it’s one of the best comedies ever made, we’re gonna let that slide. Harold Ramis’s Groundhog Day opened today in 1993, putting Bill Murray’s smarmy weatherman in an endless time loop that forces him to become a better human being.

On a much darker note, the original (and superior) adaptation of Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives opened today in 1974. Though overtly satirical in many ways, director Bryan Forbes understood the inherent creepiness of the scenario, in which Katharine Ross’s liberated feminist arrives with her family in a small town where the women seem permanently stuck in Donna Reed mode.  As social commentary, it works just fine, but its real power comes as a pro-feminist horror movie.

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