Dracula's Daughter Poster

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Drama | Horror 
Rayting:   6.4/10
Country: USA
Language: English

Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, hoping to free herself of a mysterious evil influence.

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User Reviews

dr_foreman 11 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.

drmality-1 2 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

Boba_Fett1138 13 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.



Bunuel1976 9 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.

jluis1984 22 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 sp

lugonian 26 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 hypnotizi

evilskip 11 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!

claudio_carvalho 23 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")

re-animatresse 24 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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