Son of Dracula


Katherine Caldwell has returned home to her family’s Louisiana estate, Dark Oaks, after having taken a tour of the European continent.  She missed her father, the Colonel, and her sister, Claire, but life back on the plantation is such a suffocating thing.  It could be all the swamps and stereotypes.  Not even her boyfriend, Frank, can really bring her any happiness.

The one thing that does exorcise her of the boredom of day-to-day living is the imminent arrival of Count Alucard.  She met Alucard while on her travels and issued him an invitation to visit the States and Dark Oaks.  He has taken her up on the offer, but when the train comes in on which he is to arrive, he’s not aboard.  All of his luggage arrived, including one rather large, almost coffin-like crate, but he’s not to be found.

Dr. Brewster, a friend of the Caldwell family, who waited at the train depot for the visiting aristocrat, finds Alucard’s absence peculiar.  He reasons that maybe the Count decided to travel by automobile.  Something else the doctor finds curious, and this raises his hackles, is that, while perusing the visitor’s luggage, he notices Alucard backward is Dracula.  Who hasn’t heard of the big bad vampire, right?

At Dark Oaks, a party is in full swing.  It was meant to welcome Count Alucard.  While guests bemoan the fact that the person of honor was a no-show, Katherine isn’t worried.  She assures everybody the Count will arrive in his own good time.  Much like Gandalf, European nobility arrive precisely when they intend.

Calling it a night, old big daddy himself, Colonel Caldwell retires for the night.  No sooner does he hit the hay than he’s found dead, having died of apparent fright.  With the Colonel newly dead, the man of the (belated) hour himself, Alucard, gets on the scene.  

European nobility not only have bad timing, in the case of Frank, they also don’t care if they steal your woman.  Katherine and Count Alucard aren’t just good friends, they are really good friends and marry quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tail.  

Katherine and the Count got to know each other rather well while she was on her European tour.  So well, in fact, she knows he’s a vampire.  She’s using Alucard to gain control of Dark Oaks and he’s using her to find better feeding grounds.  But how loyal are they to each other?

They have some well-thought-out plans, the spanner in the works is Dr. Brewster.  He is in contact with Professor Lazlo, a vampire specialist, and they are on Alucard’s trail.  They know who he really is and they think they can stop him.

Right off the bat (no pun intended), the problem, for me, with Son of Dracula is Lon Chaney, Jr., playing the vampire.  It does not work.  Even on repeated viewings, Alucard is cringe-worthy.  He may even be a worse choice than John Carradine.

If you can move beyond the casting choice, it’s not a completely terrible movie, but it’s nowhere near the superior league of Dracula’s Daughter.

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