Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

 Dracula is dead, thank goodness. Unfortunately, Von Helsing is held in connection to his murder. No, wait ... Von Helsing? Seriously people? Had to tinker with the name, didn't you! Anyhow, Von enlists the help of his good friend Dr. Garth (party on!) to get him out of this fix. But lucky for Von, Drac's body goes missing. Apparently someone needed it for a campfire.

That someone was the Contessa Marya Zeleska, better known as Dracula's Daughter (and, FYI, also a vampire). Seems she wants to rid herself of the family curse, which is to be an undead superhero. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. So, she enlists the help of Dr. Garth.

Well, Garth's solution, without knowing the problem, is to presented herself with her desire and challenge her willpower to resist. That thing she desires? Scantily clad hot chicks. Well, whatdoyaknow ... Before anyone starts huffing for a Vampire Lovers type scene, remember, this isn't even pre-code.

Certainly a different feel for a Universal Horror, almost reminiscent of the later Val Lewton films. And it's for that very reason I like it. The Contessa is kinda hot in a very Devil Girl from Mars sort of way. And the lesbian subtext definitely caught my attention. And if you think I'm reading too much into it, watch the documentary The Celluloid Closet (or read the book - both are on Amazon). This wasn't incidental contact.

The atmosphere was a departure from the gothic tradition, there was a weird love triangle (maybe love rectangle) thing going on, and the acting was solid enough. Complain if you will at the admittedly poor attempt at comedy, but Dracula's Daughter won me over. AMRU 3.5.

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