Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

SON OF DRACULA (1943)


SON OF DRACULA (1943). Director: Robert Siodmak.

Imagine fearing death and oblivion so much that you would desire to become a vampire so that you could "live" eternally with your beloved. That is the premise of this fascinating, chilling, and ultimately poignant horror film, one of the best of the Universal Dracula/monster flicks. Lon Chaney (Jr.) plays Count Alucard, who comes to a sleepy Southern town at the invitation of Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton), and who begins a reign of terror against those who figure out who he really is. Frank Craven is the kindly Dr. Brewster, who calls upon his friend Professor Lazlo (J. Edward Bromberg) for information on vampires. Robert Paige is Katherine's fiance, Frank, and Evelyn Ankers is her sister, Claire. Son of Dracula is well-acted (although Chaney can't compare to Lugosi and is rather disappointing), well-directed, and quite unpredictable, with a terrific conclusion. Lots of atmosphere. NOTE: There is no actual reference in the film to Chaney being the son of the original Dracula.

Verdict: Outstanding Universal horror film. ***1/2.

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