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Son of Dracula

Movie poster for Son of Dracula
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Produced by Ford Beebe
Written by Curtis Siodmak (story)
Eric Taylor
Starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
Robert Paige
Louise Allbritton
Evelyn Ankers
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) November 5, 1943 U.S. release
Running time 80 min
Language English
Preceded by Dracula's Daughter (1936)
Followed by House of Frankenstein (1944)

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.

Contents

Plot

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 the morgue.

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.

Cast

Effects

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 Daughter (1936).

Son of Dracula dates the original Count Dracula as being destroyed in the 19th century, when the original novel was set.

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.

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