"This DVD puts together Drac's two offspring, "Dracula's Daughter" and the "Son of Dracula" (although it IS Dracula, not his son. Oh well). These two films often wind up low on fans' lists of favorite Universal Monster Movies, and are dismissed as second rate. I beg to differ- these two are actually some of the more original films made by Universal. Especially "Son", where Dracula is not the prime mover- one of his victims is! The story has some very interesting twists and turns, and is one of the most clever of the Universal Monster movies. Much is made of Lon Chaney Jr's portrayal of Dracula as a well fed and burly vampire. True, but he also brings a brute quality to the vampire. This is one vamp who is a dangerous adversary physically, if not mentally.A nice addition to anyone's horror collection."
More Worthwhile Than You Might Expect!
shaxper | Lakewood, OH | 07/19/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well no, there's nothing on the level of "Bride of Frankenstein" contained in this collection, but these movies aren't as awful as they might sound. Sure, Universal was a factory back in the day, pumping out sequels without any real concern for the content. Still, there's some very good stuff to be found here.
Dracula's Daughter is, in my opinion, the weaker of the two Dracula sequels. Perhaps it's just too much of a departure from the original premise, featuring an almost likable vampire who enlists the aid of a psychiatrist to cure her of her blood addiction. There's little development in plot or character, no honest progression from point A to point B. Still, the acting and directing are both adequate, and Marguerite Churchill (Janet) really steals the show as the goofy, vivacious love interest who speaks her mind and cuts her over-serious boss down to size whenever she gets the chance. Add to that a truly unusual premise (even when it fails to deliver much), and some incredibly sexually charged subtext, particularly when the Countess abducts a young woman under the false pretense of having the girl "model" for her. This is one odd-ball film, full of concepts, sexual issues, and gender politics that were way ahead of its time. Not a great film in and of itself, but it certainly deserves a viewing.
Son of Dracula is a much stronger film in contrast. It comes dangerously close to being an incredibly impressive film, with stunning special effects (we actually SEE Dracula transform into a bat, as well as turn into vapor), an incredibly complex, emotionally charged plot, and some breath-taking acting (particularly from Robert Paige and Louise Allbritton). Unfortunately, there are two things that prevent the film from achieving greatness. The first is most certainly Lon Chaney Jr., assuming the role of Lord Alucard (Dracula backwards). Chaney never seems comfortable in the cloak, portraying a weirdness that is too subtle and unfocused for the role he is attempting to undertake. He's never an impressive character, neither as monster nor villain.
Perhaps the bigger problem with Son of Dracula is the camera work. Director Robert Siodmak is clearly a master of the technical aspects of directing. Movement and camera angles are almost always highly impressive, as well as smooth and unimposing upon the film. However, in a picture that contains such strong elements of passion, desperation, fear, insanity, and (of course) the supernatural, the camera always resists these forces, maintaining a stubbornly grounded and literal perception of the scene. The film always feels too realistic, unwilling to surrender to escapism, never daring to achieve something artistic and powerful. This is particularly disappointing in the final scene, which could have easily been immortalized as the greatest, most moving moment in Universal Monster Movie history had it been shot differently.
All in all, Dracula's Daughter and Son of Dracula are both worthwhile sequels that hold their own merit. While I would probably never watch Dracula's Daughter a second time, the first time viewing experience was certainly worthwhile. In contrast, I expect to return to Son of Dracula again and again. It's almost a brilliant film, and "almost brilliant" is still good enough for me."
Monster Mash (Redux)
T. Beers | Arlington, Virginia United States | 01/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody knows that Universal went from producing some of the most stylish monster flicks of all times (in the '30s) to producing some of the dumbest and cheapest (in the '40s). "Dracula's Daughter" inhabits some weird boundary zone in between. It's actually a rather dull story, filmed on the cheap, but enlivened by the performances of its actors and an underlying plot subtext that can only be described as lesbian vampirism. It still has enough of the grand Universal style of the 1930s to merit an occasional viewing. "Son of Dracula," on the other hand, is '40s Universal schlock at its campiest, and quite enjoyable as camp. Lon Chaney, Jr., is a very beefy Count Dracula. (OK, OK, "Alucard" as he's known in the film. When I was about 10, I thought that was the height of clever chic.) In this flick, he's menacing the American South which, given the date of the film, is almost completely populated by people who were rejected by the WWII draft for some reason or other. Not exactly juicy pickings for a vampire you might say, and you'd be right. Somehow it works as a movie plot, certainly better than the plots of any of those truly dreadful Frankenstein and Mummy spin-offs that the studio seemed to crank out every other month during the war. Anyway, I like vampire movies where the "hero" gets the girl, and the Count succeeds here beyond his wildest dreams only to have the girl (by now Undead) turn on him in a neat plot twist that proves that somebody working on this movie had a real imagination. It doesn't bear a lot of analysis, but, hey, that's pretty much the point about horror films. If you take them seriously, "well, I warned you ...."."
They do not drink...wine! two classic vamp films.
Christian Lehrer | Bay Point, CA | 08/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, Universal released these two great classic horror films, Dracula's Daughter and Son of Dracula together on DVD. On Laserdisc, Dracula's Daughter was released with "Ghost of Frankenstein". "Son of Dracula" and "Son of Frankenstein" were released individually on Laserdisc. The pairing of the films for DVD makes much more sense, with Ghost of Frankenstein being released with Son of Frankenstein and the Dracula films being released together. It is also more economical for the buyer to make two purchases instead of three and still get all four films. Both vampire films are quite good and a must for any classic horror collection. If only to hear Gloria Holden say that she "does not drink...wine! What does not make sense, however, is why all these Universal films have gone out of print on DVD less than a year after they were released. The same goes for the Universal 1940's "Mummy films" on DVD. The Laserdiscs were available for years! Ditto for the VHS tapes which have had multiple releases. Many people are just now buying DVD players as I speak and are going to be very dissapointed not to be able to buy the entire Universal Monster Classic collection on DVD! If anyone has more information please pass it on and let Universal know we want these movies made available on DVD."
So Many Draculas
Ned | Eldersburg, Maryland United States | 09/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dracula's Daughter, staring Gloria Holden, is the first sequel to Bela Lugosi's Dracula. The movie starts with the final scenes from Dracula, where Edward Van Sloan continues in the Van Helsing role (he is arrested for the murders of Dracula and Renfield). As Dracula's daughter, she is condemned to be a vampire but wants to be free. She seeks the help from a psychologist, Otto Kruger, that advises her that she must confront her problem if she wants to be free.
In Son of Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. plays Count Alucard; Dracula spelled backwards, the second sequel to Bela Lugosi's Dracula (after Dracula's Daughter). Alucard is set on establishing himself, out of Transylvania and into Louisiana, by marrying the daughter of an upper-class family. He proceeds by turning his new wife into a vampire. Lon looks at ease in his role, has a cool moustache, transform to a bat, and moves as a puff of smoke."