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Son of Dracula

USA 1943
produced by
Ford L. Beebe for Universal
directed by Robert Siodmak
starring Lon Chaney jr, Louise Allbritton, Robert Paige, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven, J.Edward Bromberg, Pat Moriarity, Etta McDaniel, Samuel S. Hinds, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, George Irving
screenplay by Eric Taylor, based on a story by Curt Siodmak and a character created by Bram Stoker, music by Hans Salter

Dracula, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Dracula

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhere in Louisiana, circa 1940's: The Caldwell's are holding a reception in honour of their guest from abroad, Count Alucard (Lon Chaney jr), a man whose acquaintance Kay Caldwell (Louise Allbritton) made in Budapest. The guest of honour though fails to arrive (or does he), instead, Kay's father, the Colonel (George Irving) is found dead in his room, with 2 bitemarks on his throat - of course he was bitten to death by Dracula, but only the audience knows that, the Count himself makes his presence not known until shortly after the incident.

Everybody believes that the Colonel died from a heart failure, only local doctor Brewster (Frank Craven) thinks there's something more sinister behind it, & thus calls his colleague from Hungary, professor Laszlo (J.Edward Bromberg), who promptly suggests vampires & links Caldwell's death to the arrival of Alucard, whose name, as you might have guessed, is Dracula spelled backwards.

In the meantime, Alucard spends more & more time with Kay, much to the dismay of her fiancé Frank (Robert Paige), & soon, they even get married & denie everyone, including Frank, Doc Brewster & Kay's own sister Claire (Evelyn Ankers), access to their mansion.

... a fact that Frank won't accept & he soon shows up again at their mansion & theartens Alucard with a gun - but accidently shoots Kay instead & can only escape an infuriated Alucard when he, in flight, stumbles over a graveyard full of crucifixes.

When Frank tells the whole story to Brewster though, the doctor decides to verify the story on his own, but when he shows up at Kay's & Alucard's mansion, he finds her very much alive (of course she's vampirized by now, though).

Ignorant to that fact though, Frank gives himself up to the police for murdering her, & when the next day the sheriff (Pat Moriarity) takes Frank & Brewster to Kay's mansion, they indeed find her not alive but her lifeless body in a nearby crypt, thus Frank is arrested.

In the meantime though, professor Laszlo has arrived at Brewster's place, & the 2 and the sheriff try to figure out the whole story ... too late though, as Kay the vampire has already arrived in Frank's prison cell, & confesses his undieing love to him, telling him that she only used Alucard/Dracula to attain immortality & now that this is accomplished she needs Frank to get rid of the vampire - & as a reward, Kay will make him her new vampire consort. & with her supernatural powers (as a vampire she can turn into a bat or mist) it's an easy thing for her to break him free.

Once out of prison, Frank wastes no time, goes to Dracula's coffin & burns it - since a vampire has to sleep in his native soil during daylight hours, burning his coffin (laid out in Hungarian soil) is a death sentence for him, & when Dracula does come back to his coffin, he is indeed killed by the first rays of the sun before he can have his revenge on Frank.

Then Frank arrives at Kay's place, with the sheriff, Brewster & Laszlo in hot pursuit, but when they finally manage to catch up with him, he has already set her coffin on fire, too.

 

On a pure technical level, this film does work quite well, with atmospheric camerawork that makes good use of the typical swamp-studio-sets you would expect from a movie set in Louisiana. However, the story is just a tad too stupid to convince, with many of its plottwists being just plain silly (after all, it's about a woman using Dracula to attain immortality) & little to no effort is made to make them believable at all. That Lon Chaney jr is cast against type here  gives a rather weak performance doesn't help either.

By the way, this movie has nothing to do with Universal's other Dracula movies (that can be seen as a loosely linked series), & there's no Son of Dracula around, Chaney plays just plain old Dracula.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD