Dracula, has there ever been a name that exacted more fear and terror?! In 1931 Universal Studios released the hugely successful film, Dracula. Featuring none other than the captivatingly beautiful yet haunting performance of the screen's first "Dracula", Bela Lugosi. Due to the tremendous success of that film, Universal sought to re-create the same experience by creating a sequel. What they came up with was Dracula's Daughter in 1936 and her sibling Son of Dracula in 1943. Quite frankly, that Dracula even had children was a bit of a surprise however, their cinematic entries while very different in approach, are both first-class efforts. Now come with me to the land where the vampire and werewolf are real and the Frankenstein monster still roams the countryside. (cue: creaking door opening and sinister laugh!)
In the events immediately following Dracula, we find Dr.Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) under arrest after admitting to having plunged a wooden stake into the heart of the centuries dead nobleman. And just so all the dead are accounted for, they( the police) blame him for the death of Renfield (Dwight Frye) as well. Unwilling to change his story about Dracula being a vampire and a member of the undead, Van Helsing is besought to seek the professional help of his good friend, Dr. Jeffery Grath (Otto Kruger). Grath however, no more believes his long time friend than the police do and seeks to persuade Van Helsing to submit an insanity plea before it's too late. Later that evening, the bodies of Renfield and Dracula are being held in a local police station awaiting the arrival of the Medical Examiner from Scotland Yard. The constable assigned to watch over the bodies is about as efficient as Barney Fife and on his watch, Dracula's body mysteriously disappears. It appears that Dracula's daughter, Countess Marya Zaleska has spirited her father's body away so that she can end the curse of vampirism that is her birthright. Unfortunately, the rite does nothing to curb her blood lust and London is once again terrorized by a member of the House of Dracula.
Son Of Dracula
Katherine Caldwell is the eccentric daughter of the very prominent and eminent Colonel Caldwell. Unlike her sister, Katherine is obsessed with the occult. On a routine meeting with her sage, "Queen Zimba", Katherine learns that death is about to befall her in the person of an individual she may or may not yet be in touch with. But before Queen Zimba can relay more of the future to Katherine a huge bat enters the room and terrifies Zimba into death. Back at the Caldwell plantation, AKA Dark Oaks, a huge party is winding down and Colonel Caldwell has retired to his bedroom. As he prepares for bed, the same huge bat that killed Zimba enters his room and materializes in the form of Count Alucard (spell it backwards). The manservant that was attending to Colonel Caldwell notices a fire in the Colonel's room and runs for help. When the partygoers get the fire under control, they determine that Colonel Caldwell must have been overcome by the smoke and died peacefully in his sleep. Little do they know that Death has come to Dark Oaks in the person of the ever elusive Count Alucard! Later that evening, The Count comes calling and meets Katherine for the first time. While she is engaged to and ready to wed Frank Stanley, the Count's dark and brooding manner is more to her liking and they marry in secret not long after his arrival. Desperate to defend his honor and take back his fiancee' Frank confronts the couple at Dark Oaks. After a few words, Frank makes the mistake of putting his hands on the Count and finds himself being flung through the air, landing on the far side of the room! Realizing his strength is no match for this dark intruder, Frank pulls his gun and fires into the body of the Count! Unfazed, the Count stares him down however, Katherine, who sought protection behind her husband, drops to the floor...dead. It would seem that bullets are an ineffective tool on this particular suitor! Thinking he may have killed his fiancee', Frank flees the house and runs to the authorities to confess his crime. When the police arrive to question the Count about Katherine, they find her in bed and apparently alive! Whatever, will happen next? Watch it and find out for yourself is all I can say!
Neither one of these films was minted yesterday. As such, expecting copious transfer damage is not all that difficult a thing to expect. Universal however, presents a very attractive visual platform on each of the features which meets their usual high standards. Both films are presented in the mono tracks they were recorded in some sixty-plus years ago. The dialogue is easily understood and more than adequate for the features at hand. Visually, they appear to be as clean, if not cleaner as any of the other Universal Monsters Collection entries. There were occasional scratches and maybe a fleck here and there but on the whole, the visual image is very pleasing. Truthfully, these films have never looked so good.
As with all of the entries in the "Double Feature" category, the "extra" is the addition of the second film on the same disc and for a very reasonable price. This particular set carries Production Notes, Cast & Crew Biographies and the original Theatrical Trailers for both films.
Both of these films are worthy entries within the classic horror lexicon however, the scale is tipped in favor of Son of Dracula as it is the better of the two films. These are staples of classic horror and it's really a treat to have them both on disc and in such beautiful condition. The "fun" factor for these films is fairly high and they lend themselves to repeat viewing very, very easily! Highly Recommended