Oct 021943
two reels

Occultist Kay Caldwell (Louise Allbritton) brings Count Dracula (Lon Chaney Jr.)—not his son no matter what the film’s title might be—using the name Alucard, to her Louisiana plantation. This vexes her conventional sister (Evelyn Ankers), her unstable boyfriend Frank (Robert Paige), and the pushy Dr. Brewster (Frank Craven). Her plan is to marry Dracula, gain eternal life, and then get rid of him. Not the greatest of plans.

This second sequel to Dracula is even weaker than its predecessor: Dracula’s Daughter. There’s a good movie here in concept, though not in execution. Trading British/Euro-gothic for Southern-gothic was an excellent idea, giving us a new setting for Universal and allowing for scenes of long flowing Southern gowns floating over a fog covered bayou. Heat and sweat and decay are marvelous metaphors for evil. Kay’s desire to become immortal and Frank’s insane subservience are the basis for great melodrama.

The direction is B-movie level, but nothing’s wrong with a fun B-movie. It all goes wrong with the casting of Chaney. He could play a hulking brute, a friendly playboy, or a tragic victim, but a cultured master of evil was not in his range. He doesn’t know what expression to use from moment to moment and can’t match them to his actions.

The second error was a refusal to choose a protagonist. Kay seems to be our main character at first, but then Frank takes over, but not for long. Dr. Brewster slips in as an exceptionally uninteresting hero. Then we’re back to Kay and Frank before moving back to Brewster. If we’d stuck with Kay (and insane Frank) verses Dracula, we’d really have something. Everything with Brewster and company should have been cut and replaced with relationship material for Kay and Frank. But that’s what should have been, not what is. Instead we get a mildly watchable C-film, and one of the weaker Universal monster pictures.