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  • dr_foreman11 August 2006
    I thought "Son of Dracula" was the pits when I was a kid. I simply found it slow and tedious and lacking in the kind of mesmeric atmosphere that makes the best vampire entertainment really tick. But, reviewing the film recently, I found myself enjoying it thoroughly. Go figure...

    It's still no masterpiece, of course. Shoehorning Count Alucard/Dracula into a Louisiana swamp-and-plantation setting has always struck me as a weird and arbitrary move. (Though Dracula does get some interesting dialog about how he's attracted to America because it's a youthful and vigorous land.) And the human protagonists are too drippy for my tastes. The supposed hero is Frank Stanley, but his character is too thinly developed to be truly sympathetic. In fact, in an early scene he expresses a sort of jerky glee when the local voodoo woman drops dead of a heart attack, so I suppose you could say he's aggressively unsympathetic!

    As usual, the vampires stand head and shoulders above the boring humans. Some people are critical of Chaney's performance, but I think he's pretty good. He's definitely a different sort of vampire from Lugosi - he's less ethereal, and more aggressively powerful. You could say he foreshadows Christopher Lee's forceful portrayal of Dracula in the 1950s-70s films from England's Hammer Studios. Louise Allbritton is even more effective in her role as the female vampire, and, in an interesting twist, she's allowed to have a set of motivations and ambitions that are totally different from Dracula's. In fact, in many ways she's the main character.

    In the end, then, I think this movie stacks up pretty well to other films in the Universal series. It's not as eerie as "Dracula" or "Dracula's Daughter," probably because it's a more modern and technologically advanced film. (The primitiveness of the early entries in the series actually makes them scarier!) But it's certainly easier to watch than its predecessors, thanks to its more glossy look, full music score and occasional nifty special effects. You gotta love that mist stuff...

    On a side note, I do think that Cheney is playing Dracula's son, and not the original Dracula himself. I'm surprised to see so much controversy about that point on this site. The film is called "Son of Dracula," after all, and J. Edward Bromberg identifies Alucard as a "descendant" of Dracula. Sure, Alucard admits to being a "Dracula" at one point, but not necessarily THE Dracula. As father and son, they would have the same surname - right? Oh, never mind, this is giving me a headache!

    One more odd matter of continuity. Bromberg's character says at one point that Dracula was destroyed "in the 19th century." But, since the Universal films had a contemporary setting, wasn't he destroyed in the 20th century in this particular universe? Just thought I'd mention that.
  • Producer Carl Laemmle Jr changed history of horror cinema when he hired director Tod Browning to make the first official adaptation to Bram Stoker's classic novel "Dracula". This was the beginning of Universal Studios' tradition of Gothic horror that reigned triumphant through the 30s and early 40s. Robert Siodmak's "Son of Dracula", an alternative sequel (it doesn't make any reference to the earlier "Dracula's Daughter") to Browning's classic, is probably the last classic in the long line of films Universal produced about the monsters they gave life in the 30s.

    "Son of Dracula" takes place decades after the first film, when the Dracula's story is now considered a mere myth. The story begins with the arrival of Count Alucard (Lon Chaney Jr.) to America, as the mysterious Carpathian noble has been invited to the country by Katherine 'Kay' Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), a young rich woman with a morbid interest for the supernatural. Soon Kay finds herself in love with the strange Count, something that worries her boyfriend Frank (Robert Paige) and family's friend Prof. Brewster (Frank Craven), as they suspect that there's something wrong with the strange foreigner.

    Director of many B-Movies before this job, Robert Siodmak would become Universal's most important exponent of the noir style and "Son of Dracula" definitely forecasts his brilliant future in the genre. The film shows his great talent to combine haunting and atmospheric visuals with a great screenplay (by his brother, Curt Siodmak), and it moves away from the series' roots in German Expressionism to what would be called Film Noir, creating what seems to be the missing link between Universal's horror films and their subsequent Noir movies.

    While Robert Siodmak's talent is almost unquestionable, the films owes a lot of its success to Curt Siodmak's cleverly written script. Just like in his previous "The Wolf Man", the story is charged with a dark pessimistic feeling of dread that gives the film a unique feeling (contrary to most Universal horrors, there's almost no comedy) that rather than making the film dull or boring it enhances its captivating charm. With clever plot twists and a good dose of suspense, Siodmak's plot also feels like horror themed hard-boiled fiction.

    Many has been written about Siodmak's choice of Lon Chaney Jr. to play the Count's descendant, but while there's no doubt that he was not the best choice for the role, he wasn't really too bad in it. Sure, Chaney's appearance suits better the bulkier monsters but he gets the job done and his sad face suits the dark theme of deception the movie has. Robert Paige as the film's "hero" (for lack of a better word) is very effective and his usual co-star Louise Allbritton makes a great femme fatal. Frank Craven and J. Edward Bromberg are brilliant as the vampire hunters and it could be said that despite the miscast of Chaney the whole cast makes a great job.

    "Son of Dracula" is a top-notch film considering it was conceived as a B-movie. Robert Siodmak makes great use of his resources and the film rivals the first film in quality and overall composition. One of the better sequels of the Universal Studios' films, it's main flaw may be that those expecting a typical Universal horror may be disappointed by its dark Noir theme and its pessimistic tone.

    Often forgotten among the many other films in the series (not unusual considering that the first two Frankenstein sequels were masterpieces), "Son of Dracula" is a worthy sequel to Browning's classic and definitely superior to the previous "Dracula's Daughter". A must see for fans of Robert Siodmak who will find the roots of his style deep in this film. 8/10
  • "Son of Dracula" (Universal, 1943), directed by Robert Siodmak, from an original story by Curtis Siodmak, the third in the cycle of Universal thrillers to center around the Dracula legend, and the first of the 1940s, ranks one of the best in the series. Its star, Lon Chaney Jr., famous for his previous role in the horror cycle as Lawrence Talbot in THE WOLF MAN (Universal, 1941), which would be followed by some more sequels throughout the 1940s, might have seemed an unlikely choice in playing the blood- sucking vampire, but on the contrary, Junior Chaney brings new life into the old vampire, sporting the usual black cape and an added touch of a mustache. Overlooking the hypnotic glassy eye stare created at best by Bela Lugosi in Dracula (Universal, 1931), he very well has proved himself as the fine horror film actor, for the time being anyway.

    Unlike the previous Dracula outings (Dracula and Dracula'S DAUGHTER), which had taken place either in Transylvania or England, SON OF Dracula is set on American soil and stays there. It begins somewhere in the South where Frank Stanley (Robert Paige) and the family physician friend, Doctor Harry Brewster (Frank Craven) are at a train station awaiting for the arrival of an honored guest to Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), Count Alucard, whom she had met previously while visiting in Budapest, and is to be driven over to the Caldwell estate, but all they find are his crates and boxes (some of which consists of his native soil). That very night after a gathering in her home, Katherine's father (George Irving) mysteriously dies, with Dr. Brewster examining the body and finding two marks found on the late colonel's neck. Having noticed earlier on one of the crates that the name of Alucard spelled backwards is Dracula, Brewster decides to telephone Professor Lazio (J. Edward Bromberg), the well-known authority of the Count Dracula legend, who, after learning telling him all the details, warns Brewster that Katherine is in great danger, and intends on leaving Memphis to pay Brewster a visit to see what can be done. But it's too late. Katherine, who has a morbid fascination with death and eternal life, has already abandoned her fiancé, Frank, whom has loved her since childhood, to marry Count Alucard. They ghoulish couple obtain a honeymoon cottage in an old house at Dark Oaks. Frank follows them there to get Katherine back and threatens Alucard to leave town. Ignoring his threats, this leaves Frank to take out his revolver and shoot Alucard, but in turn he has killed Katherine, who was standing behind her husband. Finding that the bullets have gone through Alucard and into Katherine, Frank rushes out of the house to tell Dr. Brewster what has happened. Brewster comes to the cottage to find Alucard, and much to his surprise, sees Katherine very much alive. When Frank arrives with the authorities, they find Katherine dead in her coffin. After the arrival of Professor Lazio, more dark secrets are eventually revealed.

    Reportedly dismissed as just another horror film upon its release, SON OF Dracula does have its share of bonuses that would have made the 1931 Dracula a visual experience had such advanced technology in special effects been available, along with some real clever touches, including the visiting count using an alias by spelling his name backwards; a very creepy musical score, compliments of Hans J. Salter, dark atmospheric background and fine effects ranging from a cloud of vapor forming into the presence of Dracula, to his transformation from bat to human figure, etc. Aside from Lon Chaney's carnation of Dracula, Louise Allbritton stands out a close second with her creepy appearance, ranging from her unusual dark and gloomy hairstyle to icy facial expressions. Even before she becomes the wife of the mysterious Count, her Katherine is already obsessed by the supernatural. Her sister, Claire, played by Evelyn Ankers is the logical half of the Caldwell sisters, and although she doesn't get to belt out a scream or two as she did in the aforementioned films, her presence adds to the story, as does J. Edward Bromberg's Professor Lazio, the authority of the Dracula legend. Bromberg's role could have very well been Professor Van Helsing (as previously played in the first two Dracula films of the 1930s), but instead, his role was inspired by him. Robert Paige, another Universal contract player, does well with his Frank Stanley performance, rising above the usual mediocre love interest-types of the day.

    The supporting cast includes Samuel S. Hinds (Judge Simmons); Etta McDaniel (Sarah); Patrick Moriarty (The Sheriff); and Adeline De Walt Reynolds as Queen Zimba, the fortune telling gypsy, who after warning Katherine of her destiny and danger in marrying a corpse, she is met with a destiny of her own when encountered by a vampire bat that puts an end of her fortune telling forever. Reynold's brief bit as the fortune telling old hag is reminiscent to the kind of role Lucille LaVerne (of silent and early talkies) that made her famous.

    Regardless of the misleading title, Count Alucard is never mentioned as Dracula's son, but as Count Dracula himself. SON OF Dracula, at 78 minutes, is the last really good and near original Dracula film of the 1940s. Before Bela Lugosi would do one more encore as Dracula in 1948's ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN, the Dracula character would be revived again in two quickie installments (HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1944; HOUSE OF Dracula in 1945) with John Carradine taking over as the Count, but only minor secondary performances.

    SON OF Dracula, which played on the cable television's Sci-Fi Channel, American Movie Classics, and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: October 1, 2017), as well as availability on both video cassette and DVD, is recommended viewing for a dark and gloomy Halloween night, or any night for that matter, particularly for classic horror movie fans. (***)
  • Before the era of home video formats, people simply had to rely on written reviews of "Son of Dracula," almost all of which were negative. In particular, Lon Chaney, Jr., has endured years of abuse for his performance as Dracula (or his son, depending on your opinion). But now the film is readily available and the truth is easy to see: it's pretty good. Not brilliant, but pretty good. Chaney's performance is actually one of his best for Universal; certainly his most atypical. Chaney excelled at characters who were out of control and childlike, but his Dracula is supremely in control, and seething with menace. It is his iciest, most restrained performance. Those who still berate Chaney for his "lack of range" should be forced to admit that he played Dracula far more effectively than Bela Lugosi could have played Lennie. Interestingly, the rest of the cast is equally "miscast:" doomed hero Robert Paige was normally a musical leading man, while femme fatale Louise Albritton was usually a blonde comedienne. Both are quite effective in the horror genre. Frank Craven does well as the folksy doctor who is forced to take on the Van Helsing role (though J. Edward Bromberg is the official Van Helsing surrogate). This is one of the most unusual Universal horror films, in that it is more horror noir than melodrama--fitting, given that it was directed by noir master Robert Siodmak. It also represents the only time Dracula, or any relation thereof, is seen outside of Europe. "Son of Dracula" contains one of the creepiest scenes in any Universal horror film, the one involving "Queen Zimba" (played by the delightfully ancient Adeline de Walt Reynolds), and the most downbeat ending. All in all, "Son of Dracula" is one of the most interesting Universal efforts from its second horror cycle, and the fact that it has endured such a bad rap over the decades is totally unfair.
  • "Son of Dracula" succeeds on many counts, (no pun intended) by virtue of its absolutely serious approach towards its material. Unlike other Universal horrors of this period, with their unfunny comedy relief antics, (bumbling, pop eyed police inspectors, burgomasters etc.) director Siodmak wisely eschews such sch-tick, and foreshadows the tragic ending of the story, with an increasingly oppressive sense of doom. In other words, unity of mood.

    Indeed every aspect of the production is put at the service of conveying this doom, from George Robinson's highly expressionistic, shadowy photography to Vera West's (Hollywood's most under-appreciated designer) costume design.

    The casting is excellent. It has been rightly observed that Lon Chaney Jr. is not an entirely comfortable choice for the Count, and it is certainly true that his Midwestern dialect and general deportment is not even remotely aristocratic. Still, his virility breathes menace, and in a scene where he traps a character in a basement, he evokes genuine dread. All told, he passes muster, and even more so, when you think of what a hokey disaster someone like John Carradine would have been in the part.

    Robert Paige is superb--his increasingly manic desperation in the role of the suitor "Frank" goes a long way in lending the yarn credibility. In many ways it's his film. Evelyn Ankers is as always, very easy on the eyes, and though she is given little to do here, she does it fetchingly.

    Which brings us the the protagonist, Kay Caldwell, (Louise Allbritton) the melancholic daughter of an aristocratic line, and the proprietress of its creepy plantation mansion--"Dark Oaks." This is a juicy assignment, and Miss Allbritton runs with it to the full.

    From the moment she arrives on the veranda, a striking brunette clad in a billowing, peignoir like gown, she delineates her literally spell-bound character by offering the audience a spell bindingly detached characterization.

    Who can resist her otherworldly gaze, as, staring outside of the frame, she smoothly articulates her certainty in telepathy, eerily chiding Miss Ankers for scoffing at ESP, and later her asperity at local gossip: "What can they know of these occult matters?-blind fools!" Visually, she is unforgettable, aided by Vera West's outré costumes, (even Miss Allbritton's day wear is mysterious--as witness her scalloped black waistband peplum ensemble with black under-dress, in the will reading sequence) and a black wig, which connects her with another black wigged anti-heroine from that same year--Jean Brooks in Lewton's "The Seventh Victim."

    To abet these characterizations, and to conceal what seems to be a somewhat paltry budgetary outlay by Universal, director Sidiomak fills the screen with interesting visuals--Miss Allbritton's unforgettable trek through the nocturnal bayou to visit the gypsy, the gypsy's ensuing death in a bat attack, Chaney gliding across the misty swamp, and unsettling, shadowy close-ups of an unhinged Mr. Paige speaking through the bars of a prison.

    Photographer Robinson is with him all the way, and composes and lights his shots to consistently interesting effect, (note the superb introduction to "Dark Oaks," with the camera panning through a creaking gate at night, whilst the whole frame is overlaid with the violent twist of brambles and vines) by foregrounding his shots with interesting objects on right or left--thereby lending depth and texture to his visual tableaux.

    The ending with Mr. Paige finding his former love, Miss Allbritton, literally buried within the childhood detritus of her own attic, to which, after placing his ring on her finger, he sets afire, provides a fitting finale. A finale of marked and deeply felt tragedy, as a darkly romantic musical score swells, the camera treks in on Mr. Paige's blank, despairing gaze, his empty eyes lit by the shadows of the flames.

    "Son of Dracula" is a deeply romantic dark dream of a film. Recommended.
  • Well, Universal brought us Dracula's Daughter first and then felt compelled to find his lost son seven years later. One can only thank the powers to be that we didn't get movie titles like Dracula's Niece or Godfather of Dracula. This film details the story of a rich American woman, played with gusto by Louise Allbritton, who sends for Count Alucard(Dracula backwards) to make a pact with. She fears death and wants to be given the Count's knack for eternal life. She marries this Count, yet wants to be rid of him after she receives her "gift." The Count is played by none other than horror legend Lon Chaney Jr, possibly creating the huskiest Dracula ever on screen. Chaney is decent in the role, although it is clear it was a role made for another actor...like a John Carradine, slender and articulate. Chaney is forceful in some of the scenes and does an adequate job considering the muddle of a script involved. Certainly not Universal's best, but certainly watchable and entertaining.
  • Having already appeared as The Wolf Man, The Mummy AND Frankenstein's Monster, Lon Chaney dons a black cape to play yet another classic Universal horror character, Count Dracula (NOT his son, as the title would have us believe). Travelling under the oh-so-clever pseudonym of Count Alucard, Dracula arrives in America, the guest of occult obsessed beauty Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), who intends to marry the vampire and gain immortality.

    For much of its running time, Son of Dracula is quite a shambolic affair, the sloppy plot seemingly going nowhere slowly. Eventually, the story gets a little more interesting, as Katherine's sinister intentions become clearer, but, even then, Chaney's lacklustre turn as the Count drains proceedings of much of its lifeblood. Where the film does succeed is with several well-crafted scenes of the macabre—the best being Dracula's silent glide towards Katherine across a swamp—and with its enjoyable special effects, including cinema's first transformation from man to bat, some atmospheric shots of Dracula in mist form, and a few hilarious rubber bats on wires.
  • telegonus10 December 2002
    When Lon Chaney, Jr., looking like he's just eaten about two dozen Big Macs, introduces himself at the Louisiana estate of Dark Oaks, as Count Alucard (spell it backwards), the fun begins. For those who like atmospheric horror, Son Of Dracula is a treat. The Siodmak brothers, director Robert and author Curt, both worked on this one. Made during the Second World War, at a time when Universal was producing mostly inferior horrors, this is one of the studio's best efforts of the period, with cinematographer George Robinson's camera prowling the homes, woods and bayous of American South with the surefooted gracefulness of a black panther. The acting is fine, with even such limited players as Robert Paige, Evelyn Ankers and Louise Albritton all turning in good work. Character actors Frank Craven and J. Edward Bromberg make a nice vampire-hunting duo, and their scenes together suggest a real alliance and not merely two actors going through the motions. Big Lon, as the Count, is very effective. He lacks Lugosi's old world charm, but makes up for it in bulk, drawing nicely on the natural arrogance that some big men are prone to, his vampire is a baleful figure, often prone to violence. There's more local color than one might expect in this sort of movie, with the character of the swamp-dwelling Queen Zimba providing an interesting link to the Cajun and Voodoo traditions. By today's standards I suppose Son Of Dracula is none too frightening, though it nicely suggests the link between horror and everyday life, normal emotions and regional traditions, which, while this might not mean much nowadays, certainly resonated in the America of sixty years ago, which it effectively evokes.
  • Count Alucard (Dracula spelled backwards) goes to Louisiana to make willing Louise Allbritton his bride. But she has other ideas up her sleeve.

    Very atmospheric film starts slow but really picks up speed in the middle leading to a great, unexpected ending. Lon Chaney Jr. is (surprisingly) good as Alucard and the atmosphere is just beautiful...swamps drenched with fog and moss. Also Chaney plays Dracula NOT his son (despite the title). This was the first movie to use Alucard as an anagram for Dracula.

    This was considered a lousy horror film for many years--most people complained that Chaney looked WAY too healthy to play an undead vampire and they found the plot slow. Now it's getting the recognition it deserves. A well-done, neglected little gem. And, again, the ending is GREAT!
  • Katherine "Kathy" Caldwell (Louise Allbritton) is the fiancée of Frank Stanley (Robert Paige) and sister of Claire Caldwell (Evelyn Ankers) and lives in Dark Oaks farm, where her father runs a plantation. After traveling to Budapest, Kathy invites her friend Count Alucard (Lon Chaney) to visit Dark Oaks. On the day of the arrival, the count is the guest of honor of a ball in the farmhouse, but only his luggage comes in the train. During the night, Alucard that is actually Count Dracula arrives and kills Kathy's father. The family friend Dr. Harry Brewster (Frank Craven) suspects of the mysterious Alucard and asks information about his family to his friend Prof. Lazlo (J. Edward Bromberg). Meanwhile Kathy is the heiress of Dark Oaks and she secretly marries the Count Dracula. Frank follows her and accidentally shoots Kathy to death. When Dr. Brewster meets Kathy at home, he realizes that she got married to Dracula and is also a vampire.

    Directed by Robert Siodmak, "Son of Dracula" has good story, atmosphere in the Louisiana swamps and special effects. However, Lon Chaney Jr. is miscast, creepy but too old to be the "romantic pair" of Louise Allbritoon and without the style of Bela Lugosi. My vote is six.

    Title (Brazil): "O Filho de Drácula" ("The Son of Dracula")
  • Another cool atmospheric vampire film that's a sequel to Dracula and Dracula's Daughter, but can stand alone since there's no reference to the previous films.

    Lon Chaney Jr. plays the Son of Dracula. He's ok as Dracula, but much better as the Wolf Man. Anyhow, He travels under the alias "Count Alucard" (Dracula spelled backwards) to America to marry a woman who is secretly just trying to gain eternal life so that she can spread it to her real love interest who she was supposed to marry in the first place.

    This is a pretty original story. And it's the only one of the Universal classic Dracula films where we actually see the vampires turn into mist, and the first one where we actually SEE Dracula turn into a bat. I like this film.

    There's an on going debate as to whether the Dracula in this film is supposed to be the same Dracula that Bela Lugosi played. I disagree. The reasons being because we saw Bela Lugosi's Dracula killed and burned in the previous two films. And the vampire expert in Son of Dracula, Dr. Lazlo, said that this one is probably a descendant of the original Dracula. Lastly, I think the title says it all - although there are people who seem to think that this is just a common sequel title used back then and is not meant to be taken literally. But it was taken literally with Son of Frankenstein, and this is a follow up to "Dracula's DAUGHTER" (who really WAS his daughter) so... But anyway, on the back of the video case, it says that Lon Chaney is playing the son of Dracula. So I don't think it can be more clearer that the Dracula we see in Son of Dracula IS the SON of Dracula like the title suggests.

    In the end, this film is worth watching if you can take it in its historical context. Otherwise you won't enjoy this film, because it's not up to today's standards of horror. But for the time period, this film was a good horror film.

    8 out of 10.
  • Even though I consider myself a classic horror fan (and a fan of the classic Universal horror movies in particular), I readily admit that Dracula (1931) is not among my favorites. In fact, I prefer almost all of the Dracula sequels to the original. And, I consider Son of Dracula the best of the bunch. Why? I'm prepared to write about three areas in Son of Dracula that work almost perfectly for me: the atmosphere, the mix of genres/styles, and the cast.

    • Atmosphere - Son of Dracula positively drips with atmosphere. The misty swamps, the expertly lit interiors, the luscious sets, the eerie music, and Robert Siodmak's direction all contribute to the richness and underlying sense of taboo and dread. One scene that perfectly demonstrates the film's atmosphere is the rise of Dracula from the swamps. The coffin rises from the swamp floor, a vaporous mist comes forth eventually changing into Dracula's solid form, he glides effortlessly across the swamp to meet his mortal love and future wife - man, you could bath in the atmosphere.


    • Mix of genres/styles - Throughout its history, horror has often been combined with other genres or styles of movies. Most obvious are the great number of horror/comedies or horror/sci-fi films you can find. Sometimes, horror is mixed in more unusual ways. For example, there are horror/Westerns and even horror/romance films. Son of Dracula is one of the very few movies that I would call a horror/film noir (I know that film noir isn't necessarily a genre, but humor me here). All the film noir trappings are here. To begin with, Son of Dracula has that look generally associated with film noir. Just take a look at the use of shadows and you'll see what I mean. But a better example is Kay Caldwell as the femme fatal and Dracula, of all people, as her dupe. The way Kay uses Dracula to do what she wants would have made even Phyllis Dietrichson proud. Kay uses Dracula to kill her father so she can get the estate and then tricks him into marriage to gain immortality. Finished with Dracula, he becomes disposable. She turns to old flame Frank Stanley to help her destroy Dracula. In the end, all three - Kay, Dracula, and Frank - are either dead or damaged beyond repair. Take away the supernatural elements of the story and you've got a typical 1940s film noir.


    • The cast - A lot of people tend to focus on Lon Chaney, Jr., suitability for the role of Dracula. The criticism is almost always related to Chaney's physical appearance. I'm convinced that some of these people can't get past his size long enough to take a look at his performance. And I've always thought of it as a rock solid performance. Equally mysterious is Louise Allbritton in role of the manipulative Kay. She's fantastic as she winds both Dracula and Frank around her finger. As for Robert Paige as the doomed Frank, he's perfect. He plays the tragic figure so well. Beyond these three, the film also features solid supporting performances from Evelyn Ankers, J. Edward Bromberg, and Frank Craven. All are terrific. Everyone involved in the cast really comes out of Son of Dracula looking good.


    In the end, I do not hesitate to rate Son of Dracula a 9/10. Other than some minor quibbles I have with how quickly Dr. Brewster comes to believe in and accept that Dracula is in their presence, the film is near flawless to me. And it gets better with each successive viewing. Watching tonight, I realized I was enjoying it even more now than ever before. It's a great movie!
  • I keep shouting at sexy movie girls not to go walking alone at night in creepy forests. But they keep ignoring me-- thank goodness! In her flimsy flowing gown Allbritton (Kay) cuts a memorable figure as she traipses through the creepy studio woods on her way to a star-crossed future. Actually, the real star in terms of screen time is Frank Craven as the bloodhound doctor. As it turns out, he's got to put the plot puzzle together. Seems Alucard (Chaney) has followed the mysterious Kay to her southern home to make her his blood-supping wife. Trouble is she's already in love with homeboy Frank (Paige) who's not about to give her up, especially to a weirdo foreigner. Good thing the doc senses something is wrong and goes into action. The ending is kind of surprising and tragic, unusual for the genre.

    Many of the gloomy visuals are impressive, thanks probably to director Siodmak, later to make his name in film noir (check out his distinguished list). Plus, the form-changing dissolves are well-done, adding a good spooky touch. However, I can't help feeling Chaney is miscast as the Count. His brawny presence and dialogue delivery lack the wickedly polished undertones needed for such a sinister figure. Then too he gets little screen time to possibly expand. No doubt he's top-billed for marquee value and his Wolf Man reputation. Too bad we don't see more of Madame Zimba (Reynolds). Her old lady hag is about the scariest visual in the 70- minutes.

    Anyway, it's a decent horror flick with some good moments even though the central evil fails largely to gel. Plus count me now as a big fan of Louise Allbritton who can come traipse through my woody yard any time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A little history (because I'm a geek who likes to share the stupid knowledge in my head). Carl Laemle oversaw Universal in the early 30s when they created some of cinema's most iconic creatures (Dracula, FRANKENSTEIN and THE MUMMY), along with a few sequels (BRIDE OF FRANK, Dracula'S DAUGHTER). By the later 30s, he had been ousted and the studio he created taken over. This new leadership began to revamp their monster movies in a way that we would now call "reboots", by taking the same monsters and putting them in entirely new story lines and settings, with new characters. This essentially starts with the success of SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, which led to THE MUMMY's HAND. After creating a new monster icon in THE WOLF MAN, Uni finally set its' sights on their original monster success, the one and only Dracula, who gets his own reboot in SON OF Dracula.

    They cast Lon Chaney Jr in the title role (the only man to have played all 4 of the classic Universal monsters) and brought him to the US (much as they did with the Mummy series), in a story that sees Dracula begin an unholy matrimony with a morbid young woman, who will ultimately prove to be his undoing.

    As a lover of Universal monsters, I enjoy all of them and their sequels for the Saturday night fun they provide and the memories of how I responded to these movies as a kid. As a current viewer, I can see that this movie is really a mess. After the success of the original Dracula, Uni never seemed to know what to do with the character, which becomes even more evident with the Carradine portrayals in the monster mashes. Unlike the much better plotted Mummy and Frankenstein series, there is no real continuity, at all, in the Dracula story. Moving the story to the states takes away a sense of the sinister mystery that made the original movie work so well. I can understand that they were going for the same foggy, exotic atmosphere in a cheaper budget setting, but the vampire just feels so out of place here.

    Lon Chaney is one of my favorites from this era, but just doesn't do a suitable job as the Prince of Vampires. There is none of the suave romanticism, or any sense of pure evil. He's essentially a guy in a cape, who can transform into a bat now and then. I will give credit for the bat transformations, which naturally seem a bit hokey now, but must have been revolutionary at the time and still have a certain charm to them. The other actors are just as bad. None of the main characters are really likable in any way. Our heroine would be a "goth girl" in today's movies and comes off just as pretentiously obsessed with things in which she really doesn't seem to have any real knowledge. Her boyfriend comes off as a jerk on more than one occasion and is not someone I want to "win" in the end. The only characters who seem to resonate, at all, are the doctor and the professor (our Van Helsing roles).

    I love the Universal monsters and would even count some of the 40s sequels as among my favorite classic movies, but I put this towards the lower end of the output. Yes, it's a fun movie for monster kids, but not one of the studio's best efforts.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This underrated film is often surprisingly effective in evoking a believable atmosphere of the supernatural. Count Dracula arrives in a small Southern town in the U.S. in the early Forties, to marry a wealthy heiress. Their strange courtship, and the jealousy of her former fiancé, set in motion the mysterious and startling events that follow.

    Lon Chaney Jr. is effective in the role of Dracula, affecting a rigid, slow moving style of body language, and an underplayed manner of speaking, seldom raising his voice, and standing almost immobile most of the time. The moment when he effortlessly flings the jealous Frank Stanley across the room, with a slight movement of his arm, while standing impassively, barely moving, is extremely effective.

    The effects are well done, with some good scenes of Dracula transforming from man to bat and back again. The backgrounds and interiors are excellent, with the music contributing to the eerie tone of the story. The acting is good throughout, with performances of unusual strength for a low budget horror picture of this period.Louise Allbritton is incredible in the role of the vampire bride. Like Dracula, her soft voice and low key manner do not conceal a dangerous quality both alluring and frightening.

    The movie isn't quite as good as it could have been, but is nowhere near as bad as some have described it over the years. It works well as a thoughtful, atmospheric little horror picture, with plenty of imagination and talent behind it. Well worth seeing for vampire movie fans and lovers of old Universal movies.
  • Lon Chaney, Jr. makes his debut as Count Alucard as Universal Pictures sought to revive the Dracula series. That's Dracula spelled backwards.

    The undead legendary count has come to America in response to Louise Allbritton who is a southern belle who dabbles in the occult to the point of morbidity. Allbritton has been acting strange lately which is concerning both her sister Evelyn Ankers and her fiancé Robert Paige. Soon after Chaney arrives both Adeline DeWalt Reynolds, a swamp spirit woman and Allbritton and Ankers father George Irving die under mysterious circumstances.

    A change in Irving's will leaves Allbritton the plantation and Ankers all the cash. And then Alucard and Allbritton are married. When Paige suspects something more than an ordinary jilting the action really starts.

    There are a pair of Von Helsings in this played by country doctor Frank Craven and Hungarian professor J. Edward Bromberg. As incidents similar to what ravaged his native land start to happen both Craven and Bromberg suspect the undead are alive and well.

    Although no one could ever be a vampire like Bela Lugosi, Chaney does a pretty good job in the role completing a monster trifecta of playing Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, and the Wolfman for Universal. He was every bit the horror film master that his father was.

    Next to Chaney and maybe in some ways better than Chaney is Paige in this film. Robert Paige who usually played light leading men in comedies and musicals gives a fine dramatic portrait of a man just shattered by the forces he's dealing with and can't comprehend. This might very well have been his career role.

    Son Of Dracula has a high place in the classic Universal pantheon of horror films.
  • An incredibly atmospheric film! One of Chaney's best! Cinematography and direction are excellent! This was a third in the line of Dracula films for Universal. The story line does not take place in the Carpathian Mountains but in the deep south. Count Alucard arrives at his new destination seeking new blood! The six foot two and one half inch massive Lon Chaney Jr. strikes an imposing figure as Count Alucard, both brutal and powerful! Chaney makes a convincing member of the undead! Chaney was a major horror star at Universal, when he was making this film. He would become the fourth legendary horror king in American cinema after his father, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff! All the actors are excellent. Louise Allbritton is very alluring and beautiful, as Katherine Caldwell Thirsting for knowledge about the undead! Her performance is also superb! Robert Paige is stand out in his performance as a man on the brink of madness, as he is slowing going insane! A truly incredible performance! The dark moodiness of the film transcends perfectly! There are many great atmospheric scenes to name just a few, when Chaney materializes on the top of a coffin, that has just risen out of the swamp, and when Allbritton passes though the bars to see Paige. The misty vapor that leaves the coffin and transforms into a bat! And the transformatiom scenes from man into bat are excellent! The film has some film noir overtones, director Robert Siodmak, went on to do the incredible film noir classic (THE KILLERS).The incredible ending is one of the best in Universal horror! This film is a truly underrated classic!
  • Amidst atmosphere Southern plantation swamp (Universal backlot)locations, Count Alucard (Lon Chaney) visits a "morbid" woman (Louise Allbritton). In spite of the title, Chaney is not the focal point here, it's Allbritton, who's also engaged to mortal Robert Paige. The chic blonde beauty, here in a dark wig to contrast her sister, played by lovely Evelyn Ankers, is superb, especially after being transformed into the undead, and disclosing her true plans to Paige, also fine in his tormented portrayal. Chaney is actually quite good, suave and menacing, with great macabre makeup. Special effects include a mesmerizing "gliding" bayou resurrection, bat transformations, and mist apparitions. The picture is well-directed, too, with a great musical score, leading up to a surprising finale. Enjoyable.
  • AaronCapenBanner22 October 2013
    6/10
    Son?
    Robert Siodmak directed this second sequel to "Dracula", casting Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard(backwards!) who arrives at the southern plantation Dark Oaks at the invitation of Katharine Caldwell(played by Louise Albritten) who is engaged to Frank Stanley(played by Robert Paige). Alucard however wants Katharine, who then marries him, though as it turns out, this is all part of a morbid plan... Frank Craven & J. Edward Bromberg play Alucard's opponents, who learn the truth of his identity. Evelyn Ankers is sadly wasted as Katharine's sister Claire. Reasonably good film has fine atmosphere and a polished look, with an unconventional story, which is also muddled, since it is not clear exactly who this "Dracula" is, or if indeed he is related to Lugosi. Some supporting characters are weak as well, though Chaney does give the lead role a good try. Last of the series too.
  • MORD39 RATING: *** out of ****

    First and foremost, Lon Chaney's underrated performance in this film must be addressed. The name of the movie is "SON of Dracula," and Chaney is playing an off-shoot of the Count, not the actual King of Vampires Himself. It is true that Lon is in a tad over his head, but if you accept that he's not THE Dracula, it's a fine performance.

    Who says that vampires must look or speak a certain way? Especially given the understanding as suggested above? A line in this film says that the vampire might be - quote- "a descendant of Count Dracula". And of course, we have the title itself to explain the Count's identity.

    Anyway, SON OF DRACULA is one of Universal's best 40's shows, filled with mood and atmosphere. A new plotline is introduced as we have a morbid woman (played wonderfully by Louise Allbritton) who wants to use the Count for her own scheme. It's original, even by today's standards, and a good horror movie.
  • I thought Lon Chaney, Jr. was a terrible casting choice. He was hardly menacing with a tremendously dull character and with no sophistication. Dracula is supposed to be from Transylvania but he sounded like he was from the mid-western U.S. He even looked dull, not like a villain or even a leading man. The special effects were top notch for the time period and the sets were wonderfully moody and mysterious. The male costuming was good but the female costuming was excellent with flowing dresses. Actually, I am surprised that the censors allowed the very sensual dresses. The whole "Alucard" idea was slightly interesting but they should have stuck with the classic story. The cinematography for indoor scenes was flat but the outside scenes were the most attractive.

    The movie was not scary but was moderately interesting.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the better latter-day entries in Universal's famed horror series, 'Son of Dracula' is a short, fast-paced flick with some nifty special effects and a surprise ending. It also marks Lon Chaney, Jr.'s sole appearance as the Count; Chaney was the only actor to portray all four of Universal's major horror figures- Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, Dracula, and of course the Wolfman, for which he was most famous. Some said he was miscast as the Transylvanian vampire; he was too big and bulky, or not debonair enough. Personally, I think he does just fine, particularly during the final scene when he finds his coffin ablaze and rails at Robert Paige's Frank Stanley, yelling "Put it out! Put it out!" He exudes real menace and great strength, his voice a roar of anger and pain. Speaking of Robert Paige, he certainly earns his paycheck as the tormented Frank. The script puts him through the wringer, both emotionally and physically. He is engaged to marry Kay Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), only to find out she has fallen under Dracula's spell even before the Count arrives on the scene. Frank goes from disbelieving suitor to infuriated killer to hounded victim to incarcerated suspect to willing vampire wannabe, then back to normal. There are the requisite discussions about the undead and explanations of Dracula's mysterious powers, and they become more mysterious every time they're explained. I've never been clear, for example, on how Kay becomes a vampire; it appears to me that she's shot dead before Dracula ever bites her on the neck. Oh well. And then there is a befuddling conversation between Professor Brewster and Professor Laszlo (the vampire expert) as to why Kay fell under Dracula's spell in the first place. It's decided it was because she was 'morbid.' That's right, operator, she was morbid. Sounds good to me. The special effects include a fake bat that gets more screen time than it should, but some of the cooler images include the first ever bat-to-man transformation, as well as a great scene in the swamp, where Dracula's coffin rises to the water's surface, then Dracula himself floats across to the other side where Kay is waiting. It's really well done for the time, very atmospheric and eerie, with appropriately spooky music. 'Son of Dracula' is very enjoyable and is a good example of why the Universal horror series is so fondly remembered. The actors, writers, and production crews had these characters and films down to a 't' and they rarely disappointed.
  • Son of Dracula (1943) Lon Chaney Jr. plays Count Alucard, who travels to a Louisiana plantation to unite with a love interest. Katherine is his latest and Alucard takes her as his bride, while having to contend with her former love interest who is intent on defeating the count while saving his childhood sweetheart.

    This has got to be one of the worst casting decisions ever, especially in the part of a horror icon like Dracula. Lon Chaney Jr. is a fine actor, and is superb as the dim witted Lennie in the 1939 film version of John Steinbach's masterpiece novel Of Mice and Men. Chaney is fabulous as a hulking mentally retarded man who has a heart of gold, only to be continually harassed by the bully who compensates for his short man syndrome. In 1941 Universal studio wanted to rework and release a different take after the film Werewolf of London (1935) was a financial flop, deemed as too similar to the 1931 version of MGM's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Universal cast Lon Chaney Jr. as the The Wolf Man (1941), with refurbished makeup effects, and a fine script by Curtis Siodmak. Wolf Man is the second Universal installment of the werewolf series, and catapulted Chaney into stardom. Chaney was very effective in the role, and was also well suited as Boris Karloff's replacement in the Frankenstein series in Universals fourth installment The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). I assume Universal felt Chaney could effectively portray the legendary Count Dracula here, or at the very least could capitalize on his success as the Wolf Man; capitalize on his part as Frankenstein, or continue to reap rewards by trading on the name of his more talented father, horror Icon Lon Chaney. Either way, they were wrong.

    Chaney has no sex appeal. He is dull and doesn't attempt a Lugosi-esq accent for this role. In The Wolf Man he is able to imbue a man conflicted with his state, but in this film a man dealing with inner turmoil is unnecessary. The conflicted vampire is taken up in latter films, but in 1943 this turmoil is not the path taken by the director Robert Siodmak, the writers brother. I always thought Dracula to be more suited as a leering manipulator who is desired by the fairer sex. Chaney does not look the part. His face is fleshy and he lacks the charisma that is needed here. A starker facial structure or someone possessing more traditional matinée idol good looks would have been a better fit. Chaney looks more likely as a truck driver, or an eventual Elvis aficionado. His pencil thin moustache does not work, nor does his less than slicked salt and pepper hair. He doesn't have a menace, and his expressions are bland.

    I guess I could see Universal taking the Count to New Orleans, and capitalizing the Gothic setting. It worked for Ann Rice in her novels written several decades later, but it doesn't look like he would have enough prey in the backwoods and swamps portrayed here. The swamps look good, and the cinematography is well done, but this local seems to be an odd choice. His wife also looks good; Katherine is hot and does have some sex appeal. Where is her Southern accent? No one in Louisiana has an accent? No one here does, they all seem t come from a soundstage, which I suppose is better than the British accent that normally populates a horror film. The dialogue gets campy near the end when one of the policemen states: "You mean to tell me that skeleton is all that's left of Count Alucard?" "It's got his ring with his family crest on it, the same crest that's on his luggage." I don't know whether that is efficient police work, or an oversight in their hurried quest to pronounce Count Alucard dead. Even harder to stomach is the reworking of Count Dracula name, which is nothing more than spelling his name backwards. Twice Dracula is seen reflected in a mirror. I'm pretty sure this is more of an oversight that a reworking of the details of Dracula legend. The movie used a lot of the flying bat effects. It was a large bat, and seemed to be well done, especially for 1943. I thought the movie did a pretty good job with making the bat transform into the Count. The Count and his bride transforming into wisps of smoke is a little much. I think this is the first film to display Dracula with more strength than a human.

    Bottom line: I'll give Son of Dracula a 57. Poor casting of the Dracula is unforgivable. This could have been a much better film. It was well shot, and looked good but Lon Chaney Jr. as the Count is a miss.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Following the classic Bela Lugosi "Dracula" movie of 1931 (which I, shamefully enough, have not yet seen) two sequels followed in later years that had little to do with the original story, but both of which were considered Dracula movies. The first of these was "Dracula's Daughter" (1936) - a strange yet interesting take on female vampirism that was actually quite interesting and worthwhile. Next, seven years after this odd followup, "Son of Dracula" was produced, an even more odd movie which, while with its flaws, has to have credit given it for a truly twisted plot with plenty of originality. As compared to the other two, it's definitely a more daring and risk-taking movie, mostly due to lacking the typical formula of the other two and going a unique way that isn't exactly the conventional path for a Dracula film to take. As such, it becomes a more intense sequel with some new content to explore, and as a whole explores that fresh material quite brilliantly.

    The premise of "Son of Dracula" sees two women having a party at their estate, awaiting Kay's surprise appearance of Count Alucard (who, even before his appearance, is discovered that his name is actually "Dracula" spelled backwards). The count shows up all right, only to seduce Kay to the point of her lover Frank accidentally shooting her when attempting to kill Alucard in the midst of a quarrel following her marriage to the count. As the film progresses, the true interior motive of Kay, after being her mysterious resurrection, is revealed: she does not love Alucard at all, but married him only to become a vampire in order that she and Frank can have eternal life together as 'undead'. Here is where the movie begins to really twist and turn in the actions of Frank, who wants his beloved but must also kill her and Dracula - all while being deemed insane by the others. The ending sums all of these things up, and its unexpected twist is brilliant with plenty of ambiguity built up to it.

    As stated above, one has to give the movie credit in that it tries to make an elaboration on the well-known plot structure of the other movies - this time, it is the victim who wants to become the vampire to live eternally, not simply the vampire who wants to cause trouble. Further props must go to the special effects: the appearances and disappearances of the vampires as they transform from bats or enter from puffs of fog are seamless and quite interesting (Gloria Holden as Dracula's Daughter never got to do any of this). Unfortunately, the title character of the "Son of Dracula" (or just Dracula) himself is played by Lon Chaney Jr., who is sadly a bit miscast in this role. There were plenty of parts Chaney could play: the bumbling Larry Talbot in "The Wolf Man" (1941), Kharis the mummy in the last three of Universal's mummy series, and many more. One thing it's hard to see him playing is a vampire, as the man feels far too old and does not look the part at all; nowhere near the smoothness of Gloria Holden or Christopher Lee. However, one can tell he tries his hardest and I suppose despite this slight miscasting he does an okay to decent job. Other than this, the rest of the cast is outstanding, the story is bursting with creativity and twists and the film is very good as a whole. Worth seeing for any horror or old movie buff that enjoys these old monster movies.
  • MissSimonetta7 August 2020
    SON OF DRACULA gets panned a lot by classic horror fans and I do not get why. It has it all over most of the Frankenstein sequels from this period and much more style than the monster mash offerings. The story has a cool noir vibe I've rarely seen applied to vampire movies, which is a shame, since the world-weariness of noir and the restlessness of the vampire go hand in hand. The Louisiana setting, far from arbitrary as some reviewers suggest, also gels with the vampire theme: after all, Louisiana has its own gothic tradition and the swamp can be as eerie as any moor.

    Lon Chaney Jr. is an odd choice as the titular character, but I didn't think he was bad as the vampire: he's forceful rather than suave which is fine because remember, he is NOT playing Dracula, but rather a descendant. He does not need to imitate Lugosi. But for me, the real star of the show is Louise Allbritton, the femme fatale vampire with her own agenda. She's fantastic.

    I'd call this one underrated. Well-directed and different from most other vampire fare of the period, SON OF DRACULA is worth re-evaluation.
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