Vampires are more popular than ever before, and it doesn't have to be Halloween for them to come out of the shadows.

From "Vampire Diaries" on television to the "Twilight" film series, vampires seem to be almost everywhere. They are mysterious and creepy. When you least expect it, they can sneak up on you and sink their fangs into your skin.

Yes, I'll admit that I still have a plan for surviving a real-life zombie apocalypse if it were to happen, but vampires, unlike zombies, can look like everybody else and by the time you find out someone is a vampire it's usually too late to run.

Of course, vampires are make believe and only exist on television or in the movies but if it weren't for Bela Lugosi, there might never have been all the shows or movies about vampires that have scared millions of horror fans like me.

Bela Lugosi is a horror icon who has contributed so much to monster movies that he is sometimes called the "King of Horror." He is best-known for playing the role of Dracula and vampires. Bela died in 1956, but the super scary vampires he created in his movies are still used as the template for Hollywood today.

As a fan of the horror genre, I was fascinated with the idea of being able to find out more about the icon under the cape who is responsible for the modern monster movie craze that still continues to take a bite out of the box office.

Before making an appearance at L.A. Comic Con, Bela Lugosi's son Bela Jr., made some time for a phone interview with me. To him, Bela Lugosi was dad, but to the rest of the world he is an icon. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn from someone who really knew about the mysterious man under the cape whose incredible acting skills keep vampires and Count Dracula alive for new generations of fans.

Next year, Bela will appear in the graphic novel “Bram Stoker's Dracula Starring Bela Lugos” published by Legendary Comics, the comic book division of Legendary Entertainment.

When I called Bela Jr., it was at night time, and raining, the perfect setting for a vampire story.

Rodeo: Can you share a little bit about who he was and what he contributed to horror movies?

Bela Jr: He came to the USA already as an accomplished actor on the stage and in films. Eventually he was picked to portray Dracula in a 1931 movie after he had played that part on stage for a number of years, so after the success of "Dracula," he was offered many horror roles, and really was one of the originators of that whole genre.

Rodeo: People my age have the "Twilight" series and "Vampire Diaries." What would your father think of the way actors portray vampires today?

Bela Jr: He sure would be surprised by how many different vampire movies there are in all various different media and of course they're all in the same vein, no pun intended, so he would probably regard himself as the original vampire.

Rodeo: Were any of your friends ever scared to come to your home and spend the night because your father played monsters in movies?

Bela Jr: On one occasion my mother took me and some of my friends to see one of my dad's movies, and there were kids hiding behind the theater seats because they were frightened, but to me it was just dad on the screen.

Rodeo: Since your father was in many movies did you ever have a chance to watch him in action while the cameras were filming, and if so what was that like?

Bela Jr: I was 10 years old when he played Dracula in a movie called "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein"and I was on that set during filming and it really was a very memorable experience for me. I was treated very well by the other actors because they all respected my father so much.

Rodeo: Which one of Bela Lugosi's movies do you find to be the scariest and why?

Bela Jr: I would say "The Black Cat" because it was so surrealistic and foreign to me and ominous, and the subject matter was so scary. That one has stayed the longest with me.

Rodeo: What is your favorite memory about your father?

Bela Jr: (Traveling) by car across country to the east coast where he played in plays in various theaters and I got to spend a lot of time with him. He was always trying to educate me about the surroundings of where we were, what's the geography, what's the geology. He was always trying to teach me something. Things like that are probably most memorable.

Rodeo: What was it about Bela Lugosi that makes him and his films so popular with new generations of fans?

Bela Jr: He was in the first big box office horror movie and since it was so popular it started a whole new genre of horror movies. "Dracula" was followed by "Frankenstein" and "The Wolf Man"and also some other horror movies. He was really the first one that was so popular.

For more information go to and on Facebook at belalugosiofficial, or Instagram at realbelalugosi. To view the entire interview go to

Rodeo would like to thank Bela Lugosi Jr. and Lynne Lugosi Sparks for being super, awesome, and cool!

Kid reviewer Rodeo Marie Hanson, 13, of Fleetwood, contributes entertainment columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.

comments powered by Disqus