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“She gives you that weird feeling!”
One of the truly great classic horror films packed with atmosphere and a Gothic undercurrent of sensuality Dracula’s Daughter directed by Lambert Hillyer (The Invisible Ray 1936, Convict’s Code 1939) stars Gloria Holden as the imposing Contessa Marya Zeleska and Edward Van Sloan who reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing. Irving Pichel plays the menacing Sandor and Otto Kruger is Doctor Jeffrey Garth, Marguerite Churchill is Janet Blake, and Nan Grey is the bewildered Lili, also co-starring Hedda Hopper as Lady Esme Hammond. Jack P. Pierce did the special make up effects and Vera West was responsible for the fabulous wardrobe.
Based on Bram Stoker’s story, ‘Dracula’s Guest’ this film is an unsung sequel to the 1931 Universal classic starring Bela Lugosi.
Dracula’s Daughter takes up where Dracula ends off, opening within the walls of the dark and somber mansion.
The mysterious Countess Marya Zaleska is indeed Dracula’s daughter, she is faithfully accompanied by her attendant Sandor. They burn her vampiric father’s body during a Black Mass. Though Dracula has been reduced to ashes, Zaleska is is still not free of her father’s curse. She is still bewitched with his blood lust, and a sexual longing, which is only hinted at as an artistic murmur, yet the story never quite rhapsodizes the true nature of her sapphic proclivities.
At first her gaze is set on the beautiful blonde streetwalker Lily, who is hired as a model, but soon after Lili discovers the secret of this curious and enigmatic woman who wants the young girl to do more than merely pose for her. The scene where Zaleska hypnotizes Lili is enthralling. ‘Do you like jewels Lili? These are very old and very beautiful.’
Zaleska reaches out for help from a psychoanalyst Doctor Jeffrey Garth who she feels might be able to help with her unholy cravings. Zaleska becomes obsessed with Garth, and she eventually kidnaps his assistant and fiancée Janet Blake who is taken to Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania where she is held hostage as bait to get Garth to come to her.
Holden who has a dark, unearthly and stunningly swarthy looks, works well as the believable bloodline to Lugosi’s eastern European mannerisms that imbued the classic character of Universal’s Dracula. Dracula’s Daughter is quite an unsung classic, and should be seen by all fans of the genre, it’s a jewel, very old and very beautiful!
Your very old and very beautiful-MonsterGirl