For those not in the know, from the 30’s through the 50’s Universal was know for its horror films. In 1931 they produced and released Frankenstein and set the tropes that would be used in retelling that story for the rest of the century. Several years ago they began releasing their classic horror films in Legacy boxed sets. Each set containing the Classic film from Universal in that franchise. The Dracula: Legacy collection has five films in all, I had only seen two of those so when I got the chance to buy the Legacy Collection for just $12 I jumped at it.
Dracula’s Daughter (1936) picks up exactly where Dracula left off. Two police constables come down to the cellar of Carfax abbey and find Renfeld dead at the foot of the stairs, Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan reprising his role) kindly points them towards the body of Dracula and confesses to staking the man. Naturally the police are skeptical about the whole hie was a vampire defense and arrest Van Helsing.
The plot continues with Van Helsing and his friend Dr Garth struggling to find some way to save Van Helsing from the gallows while remaining true to the truth. Their job is made easier when Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) appears on the scene and starts munching on necks. in this story however we have an unwilling vampire, the Countess wants to be free of her curse and believes that Dr garth has the secret to freeing her. However the Countess’s human servant — the best vampires have one — Sandor (Irving Pichel) is convinced that there is no release.
This turned out to be a better movie than I had expected. the story had a few twists and I really enjoyed the fact that you could splice it together with Dracula’s and there would not be a moments’s continuity gaff.
In the evening — I had watched Dracula’s Daughter in the afternoon — I watched the next in the series Son Of Dracula (1943).
This film I had more interest, but lower expectations for. Unlike Hammer Studios, Universal was not seeking a way to raise the Count for each film and in this one another lost relative of the famous vampire turns up. This time the charming and suave eurotrash vampire is played by Lon Chaney jr. This is some of the worst casting ever. Please just go ahead and put Arnold Schwarzenegger in a musical if you want to equal this terrible casting. Lon Chaney jr had no ability at voices or accents and it not credible an in fashion as a Hungarian prince.
Surprisingly, I kind of like this movie and wish it had not been hampered by inadequate direction and moronic casting.
A european count, Alucard (Lon Chaney jr), has come to live in a Bayou town at the invitation of a plantation owner’s daughter, Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton.) People are suspicious as Katherine is not acting like herself. Upon the mysterious death of the plantation owner, Katherine inherits the land and bring in Alucard as her husband. Cheesing off her fiancée, Frank Stanley (Robert Page) to the point iof murder. Slowly the counts true name is learned — cause spelling your name backwards just won’t fool Americans a young and vital race — and it falls upon men of learning to battle the demon spawn again.
What made this film particularly interesting is I think it might have been the first time in film we saw a character who wanted to become a vampire. That here might be the genesis of the rock and roll vampire. It’s good to live forever and party all night even if you have to die to achieve it.