Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Son of Dracula (1943)
Son of Dracula is an American horror film released in 1943.
It was directed by Robert Siodmak - his first film for Universal
studios - with a screenplay based on an original story by his
brother Curt. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. and his frequent
co-star Evelyn Ankers. Notably it is the first film where a
vampire turns into a bat on screen.
It is the third in Universal Studios' Dracula trilogy, beginning
with Dracula and Dracula's Daughter.
Hungarian Count Alucard, a mysterious stranger, arrives in
the U.S. invited by Katherine Caldwell, one of the daughters
of New Orleans plantation owner Colonel Caldwell. Shortly
after his arrival, the Colonel dies and leaves his wealth to his
two daughters, with Claire receiving all the money and
Katherine his estate "Dark Oaks." Katherine, a woman with a
taste for the morbid, secretly begins dating Alucard and
eventually marries him, shunning her long-time boyfriend
Frank Stanley. Frank confronts the couple and tries to shoot
Alucard but the bullets go right through the Count's body
and hit Katherine, seemingly killing her.
A shocked Frank runs off to Professor Brewster, who visits
Dark Oaks and is welcomed by Alucard and a living Katherine.
The couple instruct him that henceforth they would be
devoting their days to scientific research and only welcome
visitors at night. Frank goes on to the police and confesses
to the murder of Katherine. Brewster tries to convince the
Sheriff that he saw Katherine alive and that she would be
away all day, but the Sheriff insists on searching Dark Oaks.
He finds Katherine's dead body and has her transferred to
Meanwhile, Hungarian Professor Lazlo arrives at Brewster's
house. Brewster has noticed that Alucard is Dracula spelled
backwards and Lazlo suspects vampirism. A boy bitten and
drained of blood confirms this suspicion. Later, the Count
appears to Brewster and Lazlo but is driven away by a cross.
Vampiric Katherine enters Frank's cell and explains that she
still loves him, that she married Alucard only to attain
immortality, and that she wants to share said immortality
with him. Frank is initially repulsed but then yields to her,
as she advises him on how to destroy Alucard. Frank breaks
out of prison, seeks out Alucard's hiding place and burns his
coffin thereby destroying him. Brewster, Lazlo, and the Sherif
arrive at the scene, only finding Alucard's remains. They then
go to Dark Oaks, where they find out that Frank has also set
Katherine on fire, destroying her.
-Lon Chaney as Count Alucard
-Robert Paige as Frank Stanley
-Louise Allbritton as Katherine 'Kay' Caldwell
-Evelyn Ankers as Claire Caldwell
-Frank Craven as Professor Harry Brewster
-J. Edward Bromberg as Professor Lazlo
-Adeline De Walt Reynolds as Madame Queen Zimba
-Patrick Moriarity as Sheriff Dawes
-Etta McDaniel as Sarah, Brewster's Maid
-George Irving as Colonel Caldwell
The film was the first to show on-screen the bat-to-man
transformation of a vampire. The effect was the work of
special-effects wizard, John P. Fulton, A.S.C. Fulton was
Universal's chief special-effects artist starting with 1933's
The Invisible Man. He won an Academy Award in 1957 for
his work on The Ten Commandments, most notably for his
work on the parting of the Red Sea.
>>Universal's Dracula series:
Son of Dracula is the third installment of Universal Studios'
Dracula trilogy, following Dracula (1931) and Dracula's
Son of Dracula dates the original Count Dracula as being
destroyed in the 19th century, when the original novel was
The following year, the Dracula-related series continued with
House of Frankenstein, which starred John Carradine as the
original Count Dracula. The famous arrival of Dracula's coffin
by train was reprised in the Abbott and Costello film Abbott
and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).
The identity of Count Alucard is never specified in the film.
Brewster and Lazlo speculate that he might be a descendant
of the original Dracula, congruent with the film's title. However,
throughout the film the vampire is referred to either as Alucard
or simply as Dracula.
This is the first Universal Dracula film to take the count out of
Europe and bring him to America.