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Eerie and groundbreaking film, weighed down by silly humor
dr_foreman11 August 2006
"Dracula's Daughter" is a trailblazer in many respects. It's the earliest film I can think of that features a truly sympathetic vampire protagonist. It's also the earliest mainstream film that I'm aware of with such a strong lesbian subtext. (Actually, it's not even a "sub" text, it's plain as day!) As you might expect, these rather surprising elements make it a highly memorable viewing experience - perhaps even more memorable than its predecessor, Lugosi's "Dracula," which is basically just a truncated version of Bram Stoker's novel.

Unfortunately, "Dracula's Daughter" misses the mark of greatness that it probably deserves. The film is only about an hour and ten minutes long, so there isn't sufficient time to fully develop Countess Zaleska, the title character. And it's extremely frustrating that the first fifteen minutes or so are basically squandered on a lot of painfully unfunny business involving two comedy constables. The humor has aged really, really badly, unless you somehow find it convulsively hilarious when one of the constables reacts to every strange and dramatic happening around him by saying "oooh..."

I tend to complain that modern-day horror features too much dumb comedy that hurts its credibility, but "Dracula's Daughter" is living proof that studios were injecting silly rubbish into otherwise good horror material as long as seventy years ago!

The serious parts of the film work well, however. Countess Zaleska and her faithful servant, Sandor, have some interesting exchanges about the loneliness of immortality and the darkness of the vampire's universe. The scene when Zaleska burns her father's body is also very moody and dramatic. (How does one get a job like Sandor's, anyway? Don't you think it would be fun to play personal servant to a glamorous female vampire? No? Maybe it's just me, then.)

If the film has another flaw, aside from the comedy, it's the human protagonist, Dr. Garth. Otto Kruger plays the character as stubborn and really rather abrupt. He'll spew a few lines of psycho-babble at the countess, then charge out of the room and leave his job with her half-done at best. A more attentive psychiatrist might perhaps have made for a more sympathetic and proactive hero. As it is, he's basically just an irritating presence who distracts us from the "villains," who are infinitely more interesting and more worthy of our time.
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Dreamy Gothic horror
drmality-12 August 2005
After years and years of being a Universal horror fan, I finally see "Dracula's Daughter". What an interesting and haunting film it is,too. It's way ahead of the curve in portraying a vampire that wants to escape its cursed existence. The "daughter" of the title longs to live as a real woman but must answer the call of her blood. Is she really a blood relation to Count Dracula or merely a past victim who was especially close to him? Beginning exactly where Todd Browning's "Dracula" left off years earlier, we see Prof. van Helsing arrested for murder when he is found in the vicinity of Dracula's staked-out body. The dull-witted police commissioner believes van Helsing is either a lunatic or a liar but respects his scientific credentials enough to keep him out of jail. Van Helsing seeks the aid of his old student, psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth, to prove his innocence.

Meanwhile, in a truly unusual scene, the body of Count Dracula is stolen from a pair of bumbling policemen by Countess Marya Zaleska and her pale, sinister servant Sandor. The undead Countess merely wants to give Dracula a dignified cremation by fire. His torment is over, but Marya's lingers. She is struggling mightily to resist the call to vampirism but Sandor seems to encourage his mistress to enjoy her bloody deeds.

Through a tangled web of fate, Prof. Garth and Countess Zaleska become entwined. The Countess begs the psychiatrist to give her the willpower to escape her "obsession"...meanwhile, Garth is becoming uneasily aware of Marya's link to several vampire-like murders that have occurred in town. Most tellingly, he notes that her apartment does not have a single mirror...a sure sign of a vampire, according to Van Helsing.

It all ends in Transylvania as the forces of good and evil collide once more.

Gloria Holden is striking as "Dracula's Daughter". Her exotic Slavic looks and wide, hypnotic eyes make it easy to believe she is more than merely human. She has a tragic aura to her, but when she seduces a young girl to become a victim, she also seems repellent.

The real monster of the movie is Sandor, who seems to be manipulating Marya for his own evil ends. Irving Pichel later became a director of some repute, but here he is a scary, foreboding presence with his ominous bass voice, deathly pale skin and Russian garb. Sandor's relationship with Marya is truly unique, as he talks to her as an equal, not a servant.

Otto Kruger is great as Jeffrey Garth, a man of reason and wit who is thrust into the twilight world of the undead. Kruger was a very under-rated actor who should have been more well-known. His sarcastic romantic sniping with his sexy and uppity secretary comes across just as well as his more serious dialogs with van Helsing and Marya. He's a refreshing change from the usual David Manners type hero in the old Universals.

It's a real treat to see Edward van Sloan return in the role of Dr. van Helsing. Calm, rational and collected in his thoughts, he is a contrast to the unholy creatures he duels with. ONe wonders if van Helsing would be sympathetic to Countess Zaleska...or if he would be hell-bent on her destruction. Never do we hear van Sloan's van Helsing voice any understanding or sympathy for the vampires he stalks.

There's some odd comic moments...the two nitwit bobbies at the beginning in particular stick out like a sore thumb...and director Lambert Hillyer's vision of Transylvania seems more like a clichéd Germany, but "Dracula's Daughter" dares to be different from its more famous predecessor and in so doing, emerges as a bit of a classic itself.
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Surprisingly original.
jaywolfenstien29 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Being intimately familiar with modern day horror sequels, I expected this granddaddy (Grandmomma?) of horror sequels to follow the same routine: complete and total retread of the original's material with a significant drop in quality (a la Chainsaw Massacre). But to my surprise, these early horror sequels while not as good as the originals had admirable ambition and originality especially compared to today's horror sequels.

While Dracula was the tale of a man cursed to immortality fueled by a blood-lust, and ultimately ignoring any moral convictions in his continued survival; Dracula's Daughter follows a more tragic tale of his vampyric offspring afraid of both ending her existence and of continuing that existence.

Bela Lugosi's Dracula, while the villain, had a high level of sympathy due to his otherwordly charisma, and the charm of that film was the duality of wanting him to be stopped . . . and wanting to see him succeed. Immortality proved a curse. He's not necessarily evil, he's not exactly on the hero's path either, but you can't help but like the count.

Dracula's Daughter admirably draws a sharp contrast to that film, giving the title character a genuine desire to overcome her cursed heritage. She's not evil. She's not the protagonist . . . but she wants to be and is trying to be.

This sets up an interesting game as the fates play for Marya's future. On one hand, a servant seeking the infamous curse constantly pushes towards giving up these pure pursuits and taking the path of her father, while another character does genuinely try helping her with, sadly, an insufficient understanding of her real problem.

It does provoke a number of questions worth exploring. I wondered if Von Helsing would try to destroy Marya before learning her intentions, if the characters would try to help her, and if they couldn't help her find a way to tolerate her blood lust?

I guess it's appropriate that Dracula's Daughter can never escape the shadow of her father. Lugosi and Browning will forever come first in the minds of audiences before Holden and Hillyer. Even with that said, I still like Dracula's Daughter for finding its own identity and not retreading the film that came before it.

Modern horror sequels have neither a thought nor a question. Modern horror sequels are nothing more than empty shadows of their predecessors. I find it interesting that this was not always the case.
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Dracula's Daughter (1936) ***
Bunuel19769 August 2005
One of Universal's most unusual horror films and a more than worthy successor to Lugosi's Dracula (1931) - although I wouldn't go so far as to say it's better: BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) it ain't! The film's approach is very different to its predecessor - despite having the same scriptwriter, Garrett Fort - as it presents the vampire lady of the title as a somewhat tragic figure rather than a mere spook, and Gloria Holden has both the exotic looks and acting talent for the role. Perhaps to make up for Lugosi's absence, the script features a creepy vampire acolyte in the figure of Irving Pichel: fine actor though he is, I think the make-up department went overboard in trying to make him look menacing!

Otto Kruger and Marguerite Churchill are two of the oddest, and yet most likable, leads in a Universal horror film: not only their age difference is immediately apparent, as is their obvious intelligence, but they share a love/hate relationship all through the picture which is both fresh and endearing. The supporting cast is filled with stalwarts of the genre: first and foremost, naturally, is Edward Van Sloan who reprises his seminal Van Helsing characterization as if he had never been away; Billy Bevan, Halliwell Hobbes and E.E. Clive as coppers of different ranks; Gilbert Emery as the unavoidable incredulous Scotland Yard official; Edgar Norton as his 'fresh' butler; and, adding to the fun, there's also Claud Allister as an upper-class nitwit and famed columnist Hedda Hopper as a gossiping socialite. Nan Grey, later female lead of THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS (1940), appears briefly as one of Dracula's victims in what remains perhaps the film's most discussed scene (due to its lesbian overtones). Unlike the original, this sequel is briskly paced and the vampire's demise is not anti-climactic.
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Different but solid official sequel to the classic "Dracula".
Boba_Fett113813 June 2005
This movie literally starts off were "Dracula" finished. Since it is a sequel you would expect only more of the same old routine but "Dracula's Daughter" is surprising original and good on its own. This ain't your average bloodsucking vampire movie.

Thing that was best about this movie is that they came up with a quite original and solid story that goes deep enough and features some strong and interesting characters. It's not like they wanted to surpass the original "Dracula" movie or became too dependent on the events that occurred in that movie. Instead they just tried to be original and create a new and different kind of vampire movie.

Only returning character is professor Von Helsing (why did they ever changed his name?) played by yet again Edward Van Sloan. Van Sloan truly was a fantastic actor, I already loved him in "Dracula" and in this movie he reprises his role with just as much flair. Another actor that impressed me was Irving Pichel as the creepy looking Sandor.

It's definitely a movie worth watching. It never becomes scary, mysterious or tense really but the story and acting are what makes this movie a very solid one.


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Effective and original sequel
jluis198422 August 2006
Right after the success of James Whale's "Bride of Frankenstein" (sequel to "Frankenstein", also directed by Whale), Universal Studios decided to make a sequel to their other horror classic film, Tod Browning's "Dracula". Story says that the studio chose Whale again for the project, but his script proved to be too outrageous and subversive that was immediately rejected. It would be Garret Fort, writer of the first "Dracula", who would give flesh to the sequel's screenplay and the experienced director Lambert Hillyer was set to direct it. Like "Bride", this sequel would be focused on a feminine version of the previous monster; it's name, "Dracula's Daughter".

The film starts right after the original ends, with Count Dracula killed by Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), however, to his misfortune, he is arrested for the murder of the Transylvanian nobleman and sent to prison as nobody believes he killed an ancient vampire. Realizing that nobody will believe him, Van Helsing asks the help of his dear friend, Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger), a former student of his who has become a prominent psychiatrist. While this events happen, a mysterious woman steals Dracula's body and a new series of murders start, complicating Van Helsing's defense and Garth's investigation. To make things worse, Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) arrives and her seductive charms will prove too strong for Garth to resist them.

Unlike "Frankenstein", where there was still material in the source novel to build up a sequel; in "Dracula"'s case things get complicated, as the monster is effectively killed at the end. However, Garret Fort builds up an original story of mystery, horror and even nods to screwball comedy. "Dracula's Daughter"'s themes of betrayal, deception, and the quest for redemption are dark indeed, but Fort manages to add some light-hearted moments that break the suspense in an appropriate manner. Another highlight is that the vampire's sex appeal is enhanced and explored even further than posterior sequels of the now-franchise.

Director Lambert Hillyer had a big experience directing many low-budget films, ranging from westerns to crime dramas, so he was used to work with similar budget constrains. The movie's strength is in its story, and Hillyer knew it, so he keeps a simple yet very effective style that, while nothing too impressive, manages to create the perfect atmosphere for the plot. With nothing more than his well assembled cast and Fort's excellent screenplay, he conceives a film that maybe won't be remembered as influential, but will surely tell its story properly and deliver what it promises.

The cast is vital in this film, as their job is what sets apart the film from other Universal sequels. Otto Kruger is a very good lead actor, with nice looks and an ease for this kind of characters. He has great chemistry with both Gloria Holden and Marguerite Churchill and his performance is one of the film's highlights. Holden portrays the seductive Countess with power and grace in a complicated role as her character is at the same time dominated by a strong sex appeal and a sad and tragic fate. Churchill is superb in her comedy role, and more than mere comic relief, she adds the touch of screwball comedy to the film, giving her energy and charm. And finally, Edward Van Sloan returns as the experienced Van Helsing, and while his role here is more as a spiritual guide to Kruger, he gives another fine performance.

The film's main weakness is without a doubt its low-budget, that not only forced the choice of Hillyer as a director, but it also made it have less production values than other sequels. In a way, this may had been of help, as Hillyer's style bends together perfectly with low-budget projects and also gave the film a look closer to crime melodrama, which was rising in popularity at the time. Sure, Bela Lugosi is definitely missed, but "Dracula's Daughter" makes up for his absence with a witty (and bold for its time) screenplay and a well-assembled cast.

Time has left this film unappreciated, but there is a lot in there to praise, and while nowhere near the best of the Classic Universal Horror films, "Dracula's Daughter" is better than many of the films of its time, and an essential viewing for any fan of Gothic horror. 7/10
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Daddy's Little Ghoul
lugonian26 October 2001
"Dracula's Daughter" (Universal, 1936), directed by Lambert Hillyer, based on Bram Stoker's story, "Dracula's Guest," is a long overdue sequel to the 1931 classic, "Dracula," starring Bela Lugosi, the film that started the Universal horror cycle of the 1930s. With Dracula being one of the most famous of vampire movies, it's sequel, which ended the first cycle of horror, captures all the moods and atmospheric elements of a fine horror film, is sadly very underrated and seldom revived these days possibly because of its lack of "star names" heading the cast. Tastefully underscored, by which the original lacked, also helps make this movie worth viewing.

"Dracula's Daughter" begins where its predecessor ended. In spite of the five year span between films, minus all the principle players from the earlier film, only Edward Van Sloan reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing, the role he originated from the 1927 stage production that featured Bela Lugosi. The leading romantic characters of Mina Seward and John Harker are gone and not seen nor mentioned again. The story opens in a gloomy mansion in England where police officials arrive to find a dead body of a Mr. Renfield and the body of Count Dracula in a coffin with a stake pressed through his heart as committed by Professor Van Helsing. Confessing to the deed of Dracula's demise, he is then placed under arrest and taken to Scotland Yard. Later, a mysterious woman named Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden), Dracula's daughter, along with her evil looking assistant named Sandor (Irving Pichel), take the body of her vampire father and burns it to ashes during a Black Mass. Although she feels she is free from her father's curse, Zakeska continues to seek out her victims as did her late father. One of her proposed victims is a young blonde streetwalker named Lily (Nan Grey), who is "hired" to become her model, but learns that this mysterious woman wants more than her time to pose.

Otto Kruger heads the cast as Doctor Jeffrey Garth, a psychoanalyst who is called on by Zaleska for help, but instead she becomes very much interested in this mortal. Marguerite Churchill co-stars as Janet Blake, Garth's assistant and fiancée who is later kidnapped by Zaleska and taken to Dracula's castle in Transylvania where the young girl is held hostage in order to get Garth. Unlike "Dracula," this sequel includes some moments of intentional humor, supplied by Hedda Hopper as Lady Esme Hammond, a society woman, who recites one particular line, "My guests are just dying to meet you"; Billy Bevan, a comedian of silent comedy, as a frightened policeman; Claude Allister as Sir Aubrey Vail. Look for E.E. Clive (the noted burgomaster from "The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935) in a smaller role.

The sole interest to this minor horror gem is Gloria Golden, a newcomer making her second screen appearance. In spite of her fine performance, she never became a household name as Bela Lugosi. In fact, Holden even looks like she could have been Lugosi's overgrown daughter, especially with her dark mannerisms and ghostly features. Since there wasn't much of a market for female movie monsters, Holden's career in this genre was thus short lived. She appeared in other movies, but this is possibly the one film that showcases her best, leaving some lasting appeal to her character. Her moments of horror such as her gloomy moments during the Black Mass and her hypnotizing her proposed victims are notable mentions. While "Dracula's Daughter" is nearly forgotten, it is worth digging up again.

DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, available on either video cassette or DVD, formerly aired on cable TV's Sci-Fi Channel (late 1980s), American Movie Classics channel (prior to 2001) and Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: November 30, 2012). Horror movie fans should some great chills and thrills with this one. (**1/2)
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Good sequel to Dracula
vtcavuoto5 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Universal Studios was the king of the best horror movies of the 1930s and 1940s. I have to admit that this film wasn't as good as "Dracula" but still a very good film nonetheless. This film is famous for the supposed lesbian seduction by Countess Zaleska(Gloria Holden)toward Lily(Nan Grey). Obviously, this was a big deal in 1936 when the movie was made. I really liked the part of Sandor(Irving Pichel). He's every bit as sinister as Bela Lugosi in "Dracula". The film does move slowly in some parts but otherwise moves along nicely. The castle scenes were good and I really enjoyed the part where Countess Zaleska burns Dracula's body in a ritual to remove her curse of vampirism. Of course, Sandor wouldn't allow it and sabotages her efforts to break free of her curse. Otto Kruger as Dr.Garth was well acted. Edward Van Sloan returns as Dr.Van Helsing, who is arrested for killing Dracula at the start of the film. I would suggest this movie for all vampire movie fans. This one is a keeper for your horror collection.
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Better than Dracula?
evilskip11 April 2000
To be honest I normally shy away from reviewing the classics. Rather stick to the lesser known shadowy obscure films to warn you about and/or poke fun at.But every so often there is a film that has a bad rap that is undeserved or the film is misunderstood and ol skip has to scream at the injustice. Dracula's Daughter is such a film.

There is no need to go into the plot in detail.Dracula's daughter appears in London. She steals and burns Dracula's corpse.Thus she feels she is free of the taint of vampirism with the death of her father.But she isn't and tries to enlist the aid of a psychiatrist to help cure her.

The film is atmospheric, foggy and great fun.Gloria Holden is superb as the Countess and Pichel is slimily evil as her human familiar.The drawback to the film is the extremely obnoxious leading man who is totally unsympathetic and unprofessional(but yet true to life).

This isn't hampered by the drawing room bound settings that slowed Dracula to a halt.Definitely a classic to enjoy!
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Who is going to tie your tie?
claudio_carvalho23 November 2013
In London, two policemen find the body of a man, Renfield, with neck broken and Dracula with a stake through his heart. They arrest Prof. Von Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) that tells that he did it and take him to the Scotland Yard. The inspector Sir Basil Humphrey (Gilbert Emery) asks Von Helsing who might defend him and the professor asks for the psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger). Meanwhile, the mysterious Countess Marya Zeleska (Gloria Holden), who is Dracula's daughter, compels the policeman that is in charge to take care of the bodies and takes Dracula's body with her to bury him with her assistant Sandor (Irving Pichel) before dawn, expecting to be released from the family's curse.

In Edinburgh, Jeffrey is hunting with friends and his assistant Janet Blake (Marguerite Churchill) comes to tell him that he has an appointment with the Scotland Yard to help his friend Von Helsing. When Von Helsing tells him about Dracula, Jeffrey believes that he is obsessed with the vampire and promises to help him. During the night, he goes to a party where he meets the Hungarian Countess and he tells his theories about the vampire blood thirsty that he believes is an obsession. Now, Countess Zeleska believes that Jeffrey can heal her and release her from her blood thirsty and she wants to bring him to her castle to spend the eternal life with her in Transylvania.

"Dracula's Daughter" is a great vampire movie, with the dramatic story of a vampire woman that wishes to be free from the curse of her father, Dracula. The plot is naive and funny, and the relationship between the annoying Jeffrey and the witty Janet is amusing. This is one of the best movies of Universal Studios in this genre. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Filha de Drácula" ("The Dracula's Daughter")
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A bat flying under the radar....
simeon_flake12 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Until getting Dracula's DVD collection, I never saw any of the sequels involving the Count & his undead progeny. I remember growing up that the Universal movies with the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's Monster were getting frequent revivals on television, but the "Draculas" were kept tucked away in a tomb somewhere.

In the case of something like 'House of Dracula' it's understandable, but the Daughter proved to be a very worthy sequel, almost matching the Lugosi original. Gloria Holden is a very captivating presence as the ill-fated Countess Zaleska, wanting release from her vampirism but ultimately (after a few murders) realizing there is no breaking free from her eternal blood lust.

Getting back to one of the murders, what a sight it was to see Countess Zaleska's attack on the girl Lili. Considering how stringent censorship was when the film was made, I'm a bit surprised that a scene with such a homoerotic undercurrent was left in the movie. And with Joseph Breen to contend with, it makes me wonder what the filmmakers might've originally had in mind if the mighty Breen consented to this girl-on-girl attack being left in the film.
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she gives you that weird feeling
re-animatresse24 October 2017
Tod Browning's and Bela Lugosi's Dracula (1931) is my favourite of the Universal monster classics. this sequel, starring the beautiful Gloria Holden in her first leading role, doesn't quite measure up to the former but has its own charms

it's likely to be the first lesbian or bisexual vampire film ever made; though censors from the Production Code Administration made certain that Countess Zaleska's sapphic inclinations are not overt, it's still fairly obvious whom she prefers. this is also the first film to my awareness to feature the reluctant vampire trope, à la Anne Rice's and Brad Pitt's Louis de Pointe du Lac, with Holden's performance seemingly made more poignant by her displeasure at being assigned the role — i guess auditioning worked differently in the 1930s

the acting, setting designs and filming all have the look and feel of a stage play. the film's alluring string-heavy score is composed by Heinz Roemheld, music supervisor of Dracula and uncredited composer of the stock music used in Werewolf of London, Reefer Madness and about a hundred other films

i'd love to see this movie remade with more emphasis on the titular character's sexuality — let her leave two puncture marks on the breasts of her victims rather than in the jugular — and the ending rewritten and brought up to date. i like the film as it is, though, and recommend it for fans of Dracula and other Universal Studios classics. be sure to bring the kiddies!
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Unusual sequel
psychoren200229 October 2006
It's difficult to understand why Universal Studios choose this film as an official sequel to the legendary Bela Lugosi's "Dracula", more than five years after, since "Dracula's Daughter" works better as a female vampire film rather than the follow up to such landmark movie. Is clear to see some lesbian undertones in the story, even for those times, and it was a clever idea to start the film exactly after the Lugosi/Dracula's death, with the same actor (Edward Van Sloan) playing Van Helsing again. It helps to keep the viewer interested, even when the film lacks some of the eerie atmosphere of the original, and the climax is pretty rushed and dull. Gloria Holden was a perfect choice for the role of the Countess, Otto Kruger is convincing as the good doctor and Margarite Churchill as his secretary looks just gorgeous. Worth seeing for fans of classic Universal horror.
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A worthy follow-up to Tod Browning's masterpiece
The_Void5 April 2006
Dracula's Daughter begins right where Tod Browning's Dracula left off, and ironically sees vampire slayer, Van Helsing in trouble with the law for the murder of Count Dracula. This follow up doesn't have the same quality feel about it that the original had, and it seems clear that this was always meant to be very much a 'B' movie picture. But at the same time, its lots of fun to watch; and the fact that it begins straight after the ending of the Bela Lugosi film ensures that it's credible as far as Universal's series is concerned, and that fact will also give many fans of the original film a good reason to see it. The plot starts properly when a young woman turns up at the police station, wanting to know if Count Dracula really is dead. We then follow her as she tries to undo her family curse, aided by psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Garth. However, around the same time that this is going on; corpses begin appearing around London, and jailed Van Helsing is convinced that vampires are roaming the streets of London again.

Unfortunately, this follow up doesn't feature the bloodsucking demon of the first film, and as the title suggests; follows his daughter instead. Gloria Holden excels in the title role as the daughter of Dracula. She's seductively sexy and has a definite air of understated evil about her at the same time. The rest of the support cast back her up excellently, and while nobody other than the title character is a real standout; the ensemble comes together nicely. Atmosphere is obviously a big thing here, and director Lambert Hillyer does a great job of photographing the locations, and ensures that the film benefits from a malevolent aura at all times. The story is obviously nowhere near as great as the original, which was based on the novel by Bram Stoker; but it's good enough. Writing a follow-up to Dracula can't be easy, and while the plot isn't too engaging, it's always at least interesting. There's an underscore of black humour hanging around just behind the central plot, and overall I would say this is a worthy sequel, although it's not a patch on the original film.
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Lesbian undertones?
lee_eisenberg11 August 2005
Did "Dracula" need a sequel? That's debatable, but "Dracula's Daughter" was worth seeing. Picking up where the original left off, Prof. Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) is arrested for murdering Dracula. (Those ingrates! He gets rid of an evil force and this is how they repay him?!) Anyway, Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) turns up and we learn that she is the Count's daughter. By which I mean that she inherited her father's taste for blood. And her assistant Sandor (Irving Pichel) keeps her addicted to being a vampire.

One thing that I now have to wonder is whether or not they were implying that Marya might have been a lesbian, the way that she comes on to women. Obviously they couldn't talk openly about it back then, but you know...occasionally they look for ways to push the limits. Anyway, "Dracula's Daughter" is worth seeing if there's nothing else to do.
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Vintage Universal Fare
BaronBl00d10 September 1999
Dracula's Daughter is a Universal monster movie made in 1936, picking up where the original Dracula left off. The opening scene has the police discovering that Dr. Van Helsing has just staked Count Dracula. The plot moves quickly on with two strands, one involving a friend of Van Helsing.....Dr. Jeffrey Garth....in pursuit of defending his colleague and the other strand involving the daughter of Dracula....Marya Zaleska....in London trying to rid herself of her family curse finding it an impossible task. The two strands finally meet and intertwine. The movie has some rather obvious shortcomings. One is Otto Kruger, whom is irritating as one reviewer earlier stated. He is lacklustre and pompous in a very hollow way. The film also lacks a credible story line and is given in to the temptation of assuming a great deal from the viewer. However, Dracula's Daughter still is a very enjoyable film. It has wonderful atmosphere, grand sets(particularly when in Translyvania), and a good performance from Holden as the lead and Van Sloan in a reprise of his role as the good doctor Van Helsing. Above all it has a wonderfully eerie, disturbing, and macabre performance from Irving Pinchel as the servant of the female vampire. He is her reminder of what she is, and he never lets her forget that curse which forces her to live by night and sleep by day.
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Intriguing vampire movie full of eccentric characters and unexpected twists
mlraymond3 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is one of the most unusual horror films to come out of Hollywood in the Thirties. What would be expected to be a straightforward sequel to Dracula alternates between traditional vampire movie events, and situations that wouldn't be out of place in a typical screwball comedy of the period.

The love/hate relationship between stuffy psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth ( Otto Kruger), and his little minx of a secretary Janet ( Marguerite Churchill), is full of the kind of banter and teasing between two people who don't want to admit they're in love, that is found in movies like Bringing Up Baby.

Other humorous characters include two nervous British policemen ,arguing about who should be left alone with the coffins containing the late Count Dracula, and his fly- eating slave Renfield; a very proper English butler reprimanded by his stamp collecting employer for mixing up the Bolivian blue with the Guatemalan red, and an upper class twit who's always looking for another cocktail party. Throw in gossip columnist Hedda Hopper as a society hostess entertaining upper crust guests, and you've got an interesting setup...especially when her newest discovery is a mysterious Hungarian, Countess Zaleska,( Gloria Holden), who politely informs her hostess that she never drinks...wine.

Edward Van Sloan is in fine form as Professor Van Helsing, joining with Garth, and Scotland Yard chief Sir Basil Humphrey ,to halt the latest plague of blood drained victims to strike London. Marvelous sets of foggy streets and dreary old buildings contrast with luxurious modern apartments and tri-motor aeroplanes, as Dracula's daughter adapts well to the modern world of 1930's London.

The story keeps getting more complicated, and fascinating, as the Countess falls in love with Garth, much to the displeasure of her sinister servant Sandor, (Irving Pichel), and Janet. A great scene has Garth, by now almost certain that Countess Zaleska is the vampire responsible for the recent deaths, warning her to stay in London. When he leaves the room for a moment, she looks after him and says, in a soft, but emotional voice, "I'll leave...and you're coming with me!" There are so many great scenes and wonderful moments in this movie, crammed into a short running time, that those viewers who haven't seen it owe it to themselves to seek it out. One priceless bit has Garth refusing to ask for help tying his bow tie, and Janet deliberately tying it crooked. Then, when visiting the Countess in her apartment, he fiddles with the tie ,and looks around and remarks that it's the first woman's flat he's ever seen that didn't have at least a dozen mirrors. The Countess looks nervous for a moment, but then jokes that she's glad he's not Van Helsing, who would attach an occult significance to the lack of mirrors in her place. It's the kind of in joke that characterizes this movie. This is truly a gem of Thirties movie making and an intriguing addition to Dracula lore.
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A subtle and atomospheric vampire film.
Ted-10119 August 1999
"Dracula's Daughter" may have concluded the Universal horror cycle that had begun with "Dracula" in 1931, and it is an unusual film. Gloria Holden portrays Countess Zeleska, a vampire who journeys to England to find out if her father, Count Dracula, has indeed been destroyed. Ms. Holden plays the part of Dracula's Daughter with haunted eyes and an eerie dignity which reveal her vampire existence with subtle power. Countess Zeleska yearns to be free of her bloodlust so she can lead a normal life. As she roams the fog shrouded streets of London in search of victims, it becomes increasingly apparent just what a lonely woman she is.

Irving Pichel is superb as the vampire's servant, Sandor. Sandor is an evil and calculating man who knows long before the Countess realizes it herself, that there is no release from a vampire's desire to take the blood of the living. He taunts her without mercy when her piano playing culminates with a melody which reflects her unearthly existence.

Otto Kruger gives an irritating performance as the distinquished psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffrey Garth. Garth is smug and egotistical, and fails miserably both as a doctor and a man in scene after scene. At one point he encourages Countess Zaleska to put herself to a test, then walks out on her at the pivotal moment when she is prepared to take the test. His visit to her was in a professional capacity, so he should not have left to see another patient upon receiving a phone call. It could also be argued that Garth caused the death of a beautiful young girl who is bitten by the Countess, by subjecting her to a demanding psychological procedure. Garth's arrogance is apparent in Transylvania, when he persuades a coach driver to take him to Borgo Pass for five pounds, and assures the man he'll be safe because he's going to sit with him. This is a serious flaw in the film's plot, because the script allows Garth to brush off the dangers of vampires in Transylvania, and makes complete fools out of the peasants at the inn, who have feared the Draculas for many years. However, the complex triangle involving the Countess, Sandor and Garth is the strength of the film, and make it well worth watching.
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A worthy sequel and deserving a higher rating.
"Dracula's Daughter" is a direct sequel to the 1931 film.

The beginning picks up from where "Dracula" left off, with Van Helsing having destroyed the undead Vampire.

Gloria Holden - totally obscure apart from this movie - is well cast in the title role. She exudes eroticism and an aura of mystery. I was pleased to discover that Edward Van Solan was cast again as Van Helsing - he gives a better performance this time around.

Otto Kruger is a bit too gruff and cantankerous as the man who attempts to help his friend and old tutor, Van Helsing.

The film sensibly sets the film in England as it helps with the overall continuity.

James Whale was originally slated to direct "Dracula's Daughter" - a shame he didn't.
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Those eyes...
jimjo121625 July 2012
Gloria Holden is achingly beautiful as an exotic countess, a sympathetic woman who wants to cure herself of Count Dracula's vampiric curse. The action picks up after the DRACULA_(1931) story, only transposed into the 1930s.

Otto Kruger is the hero, a psychiatrist who studied under Professor Van Helsing. (Edward Van Sloan reprises his role as Van Helsing from the 1931 film.)

The subplot about Kruger's contentious relationship with his secretary is tiresome, but the cast is littered with familiar character actors and the climax at Dracula's castle features some nice Gothic sets.

This B-production isn't much, but it's a nice little spook flick and only 71 minutes long.
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Fear displayed through great performances and Gothic art direction.
insomniac_rod22 December 2006
Genuinely creepy Drama with a constant feeling of fear, tension, and of course, Horror.

Forget about excessive make-up concerning Dracula or in this case, his daughter. "Dracula's Daughter" focuses more on the dark atmosphere that is present throughout the movie and centers on excellent detailed performances.

What amazes me the most about this classic Horror movie is the impressive art direction and settings. Every single detail from this movie contributes to create a creepy atmosphere that will keep you interested in the plot. To be honest, if it weren't for the environment in this movie, I wouldn't care that much for the plot because it's very simple and dated for today's standards (even though Bram Stoker's novel is excellent and has served for many spin-offs). But as this is a piece of film making, I was amazed with director's vision for many important scenes.

One of the best movies involving Dracula. It's fast paced, well acted, goes directly to the point, and will keep you interested. Don't miss any line or dialogs because you might get lost at the end.
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Unusual vampire film
DPMay21 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
** Spoilers ahead! **

A direct sequel to the 1931 "Dracula" which starred Bela Lugosi, this film is a little strange in that it is quite different in many respects. In fact the only direct link to it is the character of Van Helsing, played once more by Edward Van Sloan.

The film starts off exactly where the earlier one finished, with Van Helsing just having driven a stake through the count's heart. But here the confusion starts - for some reason the police are on the scene immediately yet none of the other characters from the earlier film (Harker, Mina, Dr Seward etc) are anywhere to be seen. Van Helsing finds himself on a murder charge but at no point are these other characters mentioned as potential witnesses who could back up his story, nor is there any investigation by the police as to who Dracula was (I'd have thought a 500-year-old Transylvanian would take a lot of effort to identify). The police don't seem the slightest bit suspicious as to what the count was doing lying in a coffin in the basement of an old abbey!

Enter Dracula's daughter! Yes, we never quite get to find out any more about her origins, only that she too is a vampire. But here's the twist - she doesn't like her vampire lifestyle. She steals Dracula's body and burns it, hoping it will cure her, but it doesn't. So then she turns to a psychiatrist, who by sheer coincidence is Van Helsing's best friend and his one defence witness (even though he had nothing to do with the events of the first film). Ms Dracula, or Countess Zaleska as she calls herself, hopes the psychiatrist (played by Otto Kruger) can cure her. Initially he's sympathetic but when he finds out she's the one responsible for the recent deaths, he is determined to put a stop to things. Unfortunately the countess has kidnapped his girlfriend and taken her to back to Transylvania in the hope of luring him there so she can make him a vampire and live with him eternally.

Despite some promising ideas, it's all a bit of a mish-mash really. The policemen are comic bumblers with cockney accents (even though they're supposed to be from Whitby - which is nowhere near London, a mistake the original film made). What IS that thing they see moving under the soil in the room where they keep Dracula's body? We never find out for sure. Why is Van Helsing's trial just forgotten about? Even if the body has gone missing, the police knew there was one there and Van Helsing had already confessed. Where was the Countess before Dracula died and why aren't we told more about her origins? I'd like to have known more about her relationship with her servant Sandor (the film's only creepy character, played by Irving Pichel). It is said in passing that she has promised him eternal life, as though that explains everything, but it raises many more questions. Why is he more use to her as a mortal?

The ending is also confused. We see Sandor shoot the countess with an arrow - did he shoot her deliberately in an act of jealousy or was he aiming for Otto Kruger and missed? Its not made clear.

The film's worst crimes are making light of the characters' feelings. If the countess (played by Gloria Holden)hates being a vampire so much we should see a lot more of her internal struggle, we should see her crave blood a lot more and then be more emotionally distraught after her cravings have been satisfied. And the sexual chemistry between Holden and Kruger is just about non-existent when this is another important part of the plot that should have been emphasised more.

All in all though the film deserves much credit for offering something different to the original film, not many sequels manage that. This is far more of a character play than a monster movie. I mean, how many vampire movies omit such things as crucifixes, wolfsbane, bats, wolves and fangs?
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A good sequel to Dracula
dgeer804 May 2004
In this sequel to Bela Lugosi's "Dracula," the story takes place right where we left off, right down to police walking into Dracula's castle to find Van Helsing (still played by Edward Van Sloan) and the murdered Dracula corpse, and Renfield at the bottom of the long staircase.

Countess Zeleska (Dracula's daughter) comes into play when she visits her father's corpse and steals it to go and burn it to release herself from the same vampire curse. Turns out it doesn't work, and she goes for more victims. But in the meantime, she seeks help from a psychiatrist.

This film is more about Zeleska seeking help and trying to overcome her curse than it is about her going out for victims. But it's still an interesting story, and still very atmospheric. It has a great ending too.

Movies like these don't usually appeal to young audiences though, simply because they're used to today's standards of horror and are unable look at films like this in their historical context, therefore not enjoying them. But films like these were scary for their time, and that's what counts. They still creep me out.

9 out of 10.
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More powerful than much better films.
alice liddell27 July 2000
Many films have visualised the conflict between Law and Desire, but few have created such an eerie dreamlike space for it as this movie. There are elements from the other great Universal films - character comedy from Whale; sexual themes figured in petrified imagery from Freund - but this film's suspended dread is all it's own, where seeming flaws (clumsy compositions, wooden acting, slow pace) become serious virtues; and you find yourself sweating for some reason. It also manages to reject all the reactionary assumptions of Stoker's original novel. It doesn't feel like a great film, but its grip is unshakeable.
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Eerie and haunting tale of a lonely woman.
michaelRokeefe31 October 2001
Countess Zaleska(Gloria Holden)travels to London in search of two things. She wants to be convinced that she is actually the daughter of Count Dracula and wants aid in curing a mysterious illness. She discovers her urges for human blood becomes stronger and especially if the sustaining elixir is from a female. The lonely Countess does romance a man that she tries to manipulate with hypnosis. A distinguished psychiatrist(Otto Kruger)seems to do little to help the Countess with her torments.

Real creepy atmosphere and tight dialogue mixed with haunting score makes for an interesting horror flick. Other cast members are: Edward Van Sloan, Marguerite Churchill, Irving Pichel and Hedda Hopper.
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