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DVD Review

Son of Dracula (1943)


Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton and Evelyn Ankers
Universal Classic Cinema
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: PG
Available 05 May 2008

Katherine possesses what others close to her consider to be an unhealthy interest in the occult. When Dr Alucard arrives at the house, Katherine's father dies shortly afterward, and it is only Doctor Brewester who notices that his name spells Dracula backwards. In fact, Alucard is Count Dracula's son. Katherine finds herself curiously attracted to him, failing to be in any way suspicious when he demands they marry. The ancient house is left by her father in his will to Katherine, and therefore it is soon in the hands of Alucard. Katherine simply seeks immortality through vampirism...

In this instance, Alucard/Dracula is played by Lon Chaney Jr. Unfortunately, due to both script problems and the characterisation, he is far from being the gentlemanly but sinister creature penned by Bram Stoker, and is a mile short of emulating Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the master vampire in the 1931 classic Dracula. This Dracula has no real power, simply electing to strangle people.

The plot, although simple, has more holes than a Swiss cheese, not the least of which is why Alucard arrives at the house to announce himself, only to disappear immediately afterward and not return until the house is his.

The professional pairing of Doctor Brewester and Professor Lazlo works extremely well, in a manner which reminds me of the similar set-up in Doctor Who's The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Another good moment is the decision to utilise the seldom seen destruction by flames of Dracula's coffin (to which he must return) as an effective way to dispatch the creature of the night. Although why Alucard stands by watching, instead of intervening is frankly beyond my comprehension.

I must just mention the house servants 'tap-dancing' on the flames, when a small fire breaks out inside the house. That looked hilarious, and was almost worth suffering the rest.


Ty Power

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