[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 28 – Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Director: Lambert Hillyer

Cast: Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward van Sloan, Irving Pichel, Nan Gray

Screenplay: Garrett Ford

71 mins. Approved.

 

Set directly after the events of Dracula, Dracula’s Daughter starts with the arrest of Professor Von Helsing (Edward van Sloan, Sealed Verdict, Betty Co-Ed) over the deaths of Renfield and Dracula. He requests the help of Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger, High Noon, Saboteur) in proving his sanity. Meanwhile, a new vampire, Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden, The Life of Emile Zola, This Happy Feeling), and her familiar Sandor (Irving Pichel, Destination Moon, Martin Luther) have stolen Dracula’s body in order to free her of the curse he has over her, but she quickly learns that the curse has not yet broken, and she still craves blood.

Dracula’s Daughter is very nicely paced and holds up nicely as a direct continuation with one glaring issue. While the original film is set in the 19th century, this follow-up is in the 1930s. This is a major plot hole that is thankfully not given enough time to breathe so that the audience doesn’t notice as much. Gloria Holden does a fine job portraying the daughter of Lugosi’s Dracula as does Otto Kruger, but his role is written for the time and it doesn’t age very well. The best parts of the film, though, include Edward van Sloan’s Von Helsing as he very quickly reminds us of the horrors he has faced before.

Dracula’s Daughter is oft-forgotten because it stands in the shadow of its predecessor and rightfully so, but it is a fine continuation of the story in the Universal Monster canon. Holden’s deeply-flawed and emotionally-broken Countess works as a villainess with motives and layers. This is one to check out if you enjoyed the first, even if it can’t stand up to it.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Tod Browning’s Dracula, click here.

 

For more Almighty Goatman,

31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 24 – Dracula (1931)

 dracula1931a

Director: Tod Browning

Cast: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan

Screenplay: Garrett Fort

85 mins. Not Rated.

 

Tonight, I wanted a classic. In the most simplistic and understandable way. I chose Dracula.

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When Mr. Renfield (Dwight Frye, Frankenstein, Drums of Fu Manchu) arrives at Castle Dracula to meet the mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi, White Zombie, Bride of the Monster), he succumbs to the Count’s convincing and becomes his slave. The Count is a vampire, a demonic force who feeds on the blood of the living, and he is heading to London to live in his new home at Carfax Abbey, where he meets Mina (Helen Chandler, The Last Flight, Christopher Strong), Johnathan Harker (David Manners, The Mummy, The Black Cat), Lucy, and Doctor Seward. As the Count begins claiming new victims, the equally strange Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan, Mission to Moscow, A Shot in the Dark) must do all he can to stop him.

Dracula is downright brilliant in so many ways. I love the lead performance from Lugosi and Van Sloan. The two play off each other so well. Dwight Frye’s work as the turned Renfield is also terrifying and unsettling even today.

Dracula continues to impress, and I suggest watching this film back-to-back with the Spanish language version (both made on the same sets at the same time). I also suggest viewing the film with the newer score from Philip Glass. Seriously, what are you doing right now? You should be watching this.

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I’m sorry. I shouldn’t tell you what to do. No wait, I don’t care. See the damn movie!

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

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