SON OF DRACULA (1943)
Article #154 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-17-2001
Posting date: 12-31-2001
A woman becomes involved with Count Dracula (or his son) in order to gain eternal life, which she intends to share with the man she loves.
Though I do like Lon Chaney, Jr. as an actor, I think he’s wrong for the Dracula role (and I would feel the same about Karloff, for that matter). It isn’t his acting ability that I question; I just think he lacks the right physical and vocal presence for that sort of character, though IMO he gives his very best shot. Still, I have to admit that despite this problem, the movie doesn’t really suffer; in fact, I suspect it may be Universal’s best take on the Dracula series. Credit definitely must go to Robert Siodmak, who makes the movie eerie and visually compelling. The shot of the coffin rising out of the swamp is for me the epitome of atmospheric horror. An interesting story and a good cast (featuring Louise Allbritton and Evelyn Ankers) also help. I hadn’t seen this movie in years until I saw it again recently; I definitely look forward to watching it a few more times.
And yes, I know, some people have made the point that Chaney is NOT playing Dracula, but rather his son. Nonetheless, as far as I can tell from the script, there’s not a whole lot of difference between Drac and his offspring, so as far as I’m concerned, my belief that Chaney is wrong for the role still stands.