Movie Review: Dracula's Daughter (1936)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1936 horror movie starring Gloria Holden and Otto Kruger.

Synopsis: A contessa, turned into a vampire by the infamous Count Dracula decades before, comes to London after hearing her "father" was finally killed and steals his body. She believes his death means she is finally free of her curse but quickly learns that is not the case and, instead, turns to a prominent psychiatrist for help.

Review

My oldest daughter and I have had this on our watch list for a few months now and finally had a chance to watch it last night. Unfortunately, while I was interested in seeing the sequel to the film "Dracula," I found I was actually kind of disappointed by this film.

One of my biggest complaints about many classic monster movies is the way the movie writers focus a bit too much on the "tortured soul" of their monsters. When that happens, the main villain ends up seeming like the victim and just isn't all that scary. And, this movie really was one of those films that fell in to that category.

This was really too bad too because Contessa Marya Zeleska (Holden) was actually somewhat intriguing. Unlike Dracula (Bela Lugosi), she was much better at seeming somewhat normal and, if I weren't for the fact I was already clued in about her real identity, I'm not sure I wouldn't have been fooled by her too.

I will say this about her, the fact she was desperate did make her a bit more dangerous than expected because, if she wasn't succumbing to her primitive urges to kill and drink blood, she was using her skills to gain some leverage over the psychiatrist she wanted to help her (Garth). Unfortunately, because she was so tormented, she just never reached a point where the movie created any suspense.

The other thing I was disappointed about was the limited role Professor Van Helsing (Van Sloan) ended up having in this film. He stood accused of murder, was facing execution or a lifetime in a mental institution and, yet, received very little screen time. I think the film would have been a bit better had he been used better, perhaps even having Marya reveal herself to him in the hopes of getting his help instead of the psychiatrist's. 

Dracula (Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula)

Dracula's Daughter Picking up where Dracula left off, Dr. Von Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), thinking he has rid London of all vampires, is instead arrested for murder. Meanwhile, ...

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Final Opinion

I thought Holden's performance was pretty good. However, the writing prevented this from becoming as good of a horror movie as it had the potential to be and I was kind of disappointed as a result.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 09/25/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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