seen @ Landmark Loews Jersey Theatre, Jersey City NJ
Dracula's Daughter is one of the few classic Universal horror movies with a female monster. I mean, seriously, how many can you think of? Everyone associates Halloween with witches, but the only truly iconic witch in cinema is a supporting character, not the star, and she got owned by a farm girl with a bucket of water.
Daughter begins immediately after the events of Dracula. Van Helsing is arrested for murder, but of course, no one believes the guy he just killed was a supernatural bloodsucker. He enlists a protégé of his, a psychiatrist, to help prove his innocence.
He becomes involved with a mysterious countess tormented, TORMENTED, I say, by evil compulsions from the man she claims is her father: ol' Drac himself. Can she be cured? Or will she just say screw it, there's no hope for me, I'm evil, I shall embrace my wicked heritage and kill kill evil crazy ha ha ha? Take one guess.
Gloria Holden makes this watchable. She's exotically beautiful - I thought she resembled Meryl Streep as a brunette - and she doesn't go for camp. Her Countess Zaleska has a magnetism different from Lugosi's, yet is her own. She's commanding when she has to be, but because she regards her vampiric nature as a curse, she's a tragic figure as well. You care about what happens to her.
I had never heard of Holden before. Looking through her IMDB page, I see she was in The Life of Emile Zola, a couple of Gable flicks, a few with Roz Russell, but I don't think she was considered a leading lady. That's too bad. I liked her in this.
The rest of the story is okay, but honestly, it's short on plot and shorter on scares. On the plus side, unlike Dracula, it has a score worth speaking of, and it even has some light humor. Plus, Hedda Hopper when she was still an actress!
The Countess could be a serial killer as opposed to a vampire for all we see of her sucking blood or turning into a bat or what have you. And if Drac's her dad, who's her mom? Mom gets one passing mention and that's all. Is the Countess an all-the-way vamp, or some manner of human-vamp hybrid, like Blade? Was she born human and made a vamp by her dad? We'll never know.
Halloween at the Loews JC is always a fun time. Daughter was part of a twin bill with Nosferatu (another huge, line-around-the-block crowd, like last time) that I saw with Aurora. She thought the Countess' mom was one of the women from Dracula. Maybe. She also tells me the organist for the silent horror pic was a teenager. You'd never know from listening to him. He was superb!
No pics of Aurora and me this time; you know what we look like by now. I was glad to have seen a movie with her again. We had planned to see It Happened One Night at Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer, but it got rained out and she had to cancel at the last minute anyway. This makes up for that.