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on 23 August 2002
Dracula's Daughter is an excellent sequel to it's predecessor Dracula. Gloria Holden plays the daughter of the late count, and strives to "release" herself from the curse of vampirism, which is the only thing her father left her with, apart from his Transylvanian castle. Not only a gripping and well written tale of horror and suspense but also a romantic, and at times sad film.
Although black and white films may not be as popular, this film is enhnced by it's black and white format. Dracula's Daughter seeks the help of a psychiatrist to aid her in finding release, however this turns sour when the countess kidnaps his secretary/love interest and takes her away from polite London society to the rocky hills of Transylvania. a must for any serious vampire of Horror fans, as an early trailer once stated it's "better than Dracula", if you can believe it.
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DRACULA'S DAUGHTER 1936 Universal Studios Region 2 DVD
Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan.

This was the first sequel in the Universal Pictures `Dracula' franchise. I first saw these movies in the late 1950's, I was about fifteen and a school friend invited me to stay at his father's house for a couple of weeks during the summer holidays. His father was a keen film collector and had a small movie theatre in his cellar and we spent a rainy week watching his collection of vintage horror films; an illicit thrill as most of the movies were X-Rated (Over 18 in cinemas) in those days. It was that week which started my interest in collecting films and for the past fifty odd years books and films have been a large part of my life and pocket money budget.

This was from the start and still is one of my very favourite vintage horror films and in my opinion is equal to or perhaps even better than the 1931 Bela Lugosi DRACULA. The beautiful and elegant Gloria Holden plays the character of Countess Marya Zaleska, the `daughter' of Count Dracula and despite the five year gap in filming the movie carries straight on where the 1931 DRACULA ends.

In my opinion, Holden's Countess Zaleska is probably the best female vampire character, who wants only to cast off the mantle of evil and destruction that she has inherited from Dracula and find a way to become human again. Her performance is classy and at times powerful but always sensual and is probably one of the few horror film characters of the day to be almost universally audience sympathetic the first tragic anti-heroine of the genre.

Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and now I am going through a same process of upgrading everything to DVD. This also gives me the excuse to revisit films which I have not seen for some time. Either you love these vintage movies or you hate them; the film is a classic Universal horror movie and well worth having in your collection, I bought both the Region 1 double feature disc and the individual Region 2 issue both are clear, good definition transfers.
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on 26 November 2009
I watch old horror movies more for interest than enjoyment and escapism, but this one fulfilled all three requirements...
It is rather well done. Ole' Red Eyes himself doesn't feature - only his daughter, as the title suggests, but it has a good atmosphere, and carries on from the original Dracula story with a sort of "What if this had really happened" premise, which I found rather intriguing.

Good stuff - if you are into old horror movies, this is a cut above the rest in my opinion!
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on 30 November 2008
A quickie sequel to Tod Browning's 1931 version of Dracula, Lambert Hillyer's Dracula's Daughter (1936) is an odd movie, weird enough to the hold the attention the first time you watch it, though it probably wouldn't stand up to repeated viewings.
This sequel starts at the exact point the earlier film ended, with Dr. Van Helsing (here re-christened `Von Helsing' for some reason, and again played by Edward Van Sloan) being arrested for the murder of Count Dracula (!) by the local police (and though the Hollywood movies of the period were hardly known for faithfully replicating British dialects and geography, I feel it is worth pointing out that residents of Whitby, North Yorkshire, generally don't have Cockney accents). Whilst `Von' awaits trial, Dracula's body is stolen by his vampiric daughter (Gloria Holden), who ritually burns it in an attempt to free herself of blood-lust. When this fails to have any effect, she consults a psychiatrist (Otto Kruger), who hopes that he can treat her instead; however, the psychiatrist is also contacted by the imprisoned vampire hunter, who wants his help to persuade Scotland Yard that he isn't barking mad...
The little-known Holden is a revelation in this cheap, short B-movie, which, unusually for a film of the period, treats vampirism as a curable medical condition rather than a supernatural `curse', and contains themes of lesbianism that must have raised a few eyebrows back in 1936 (Holden's wonderful scene with artist's model Nan Grey is the highlight of the film). But Kruger is a smug, uninterested lead (he's Leslie Howard without the warmth and wit), Van Sloan again makes for a dull vampire hunter, and the rouged Irving Pichel looks absolutely ridiculous as Holden's black-hearted manservant. Though featuring less static action than the 1931 original (and ending with a chase back to where the first film began, Dracula's castle in Transylvania), this is still a rather slow-moving, talky movie, blighted by lots of atrocious comic relief, and one that really endures only as a curiosity piece.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 October 2015
Five years after Universal launched a Bela Lugosi inspired Dracula upon the film loving world, the sequel arrived - only not with Lugosi's Count Dracula in it. Pic picks up at the end of the 31 film and finds Von Helsing (yes Von, not Van) under arrest for the slaying of the toothy vampire. Enter Contessa Marya Zeleska, who sets in motion the wheels of vampiric legends and torrid passions about to be exposed.

There's an ethereal low-key mood to Dracula's Daughter, exuding the sort of atmosphere that Val Lewton would hone and trademark within six years. It's a beautifully photographed movie (George Robinson), while there's some neat touches in the screenplay - such as lesbian overtones and the fact our vampire lady is very sympathetic due to her searching for a cure to her ills. However. The play is over talky and very bloodless, it's like the makers forgot to actually put some horror aspects into the piece. There's also an odd blend of humour and drama which never sits right, while the ending is abrupt and disappointing.

It's a nice film, a nice production, but nice is a word that really shouldn't be on your lips given the history of the source materials. 6/10
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on 8 September 2014
Dracula's Daughter in ten minutes has more atmosphere, better acting and better production values than the whole torid 70 minutes of its predesscesor. Not usually do we come to the conclusion that a sequel is better than the original, but in this case It is. The movie starts as the original one ended. Bodies galore and only Van Helsing is at the scene of the crime. So the local police take him in as a suspect, and now he must clear his name.

Enter Dracula's Daughter the gorgeous and mesmirising Gloria Holden. Fed up of her vamperism ways she seeks the help of a psychiarist played by Otto Kruger. Kruger is the stand out here and every time he is in frame he makes the film his own.

Dracula's Daughter is a curiosity in many ways, because we don't see any deaths- we here of them, but don't physically see. And there are no fangs to be seen here either. You could say this film is a suggestive horror, much like what Val Lewton would go on to produce in the 1940s.

The film's core success is that for the most part it is entertaining. There is some humour courtesy of Gilbert Emery, and above all some good characters. The film does notably drop off in the final quarter- and yes it is too predicatable. But this sequel got the Dracula franchise back on track, and is a worthy film in the Universal horror collection. Of interest the budget was $278,000 which at that time was the biggest budget Universal had spent on a horror movie.
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on 28 July 2016
Although usually overshadowed by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee's portrayal of the Countess Marya Zaleska's famous "father", "Dracula's Daughter" is a trailblazer in its day, one that decades later would inspire a more "humanistic" portrayal of the vampire in not just the TV series "Dark Shadows" but also Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles( Rice has been quoted as saying of this 1936 film which she saw as a child- "It's beautiful and delicate- more than anything else I loved the way Dracula's daughter was made to be a troubled creature who didn't want to kill but was driven to it!"- even to the extent of naming one of the vampire bars in her novels "Dracula's Daughter" with posters and photos of Ms. Holden) but also films like "My Best Friend Is A Vampire" "The Little Vampire" "Twilight" and True Blood". I should admit my bias here: I sympathize with Zaleska's desire to be "free of the curse of the Draculas" because I know all too well that it is like to be cursed by a condition that can not be cured or changed- I am a type 2 diabetic). Much has been written about the scene in which the Countess(an accomplished artist- much like myself although she was probably better than I'll EVER be) lures a young(and possibly suicidal) streetwalker named Lili (Nan Gray) to her studio to model for her and after stripping off, attacks her( the cruel irony is that Zaleska may NOT have intended to kill her- like Rice's Louis she may only have "intended a little sip" of the girl's blood but in the heat of the moment she took too much, ultimately causing Lili's death; later she seems almost remorseful over it- asuming a vampire can genuinely know remorse and contrition) due to the obviously lesbian overtones, but as lesbianism/female bisexuality never has attracted the same explicit condemnation that male homosexuality did- even in the 1930s, the censors( who were hardly the brightest and most perceptive individuals around) as is the closing scene where suggestively hovers over the captive Janet Blake(Marguerite Churchill-presumably no relative to "dear old Winnie") as if to kiss her. British born(although she lived and died most of her life in America- where she was taken as a child by her English father and German born mother- which may account for her decidedly outre looks; a site I visited referred to her dark brown hair, brown eyes and olive complexion) Gloria Holden is probably the ideal actress to be cast as Countess Zaleska(ironically because she didn;t much like horror films and was afraid of being typecast- as Bela Lugosi)
and lends the film gravitas as a troubled, tortured and ultimately doomed woman cursed by her own heritage(irony yet again, in 1991 Holden despite being an accomplished cyclist would die in much the same way as her character would- by a fatal injury to her heart- albeit a heart attack rather than have an arrow pierce her bosom as the Countess did).
"The woman is beautiful" a policeman says to Von Helsing as they survey her dead body "She was beautiful when she died- a hundred years ago!" he replies.( Since Dracula has been dead for five hundred years, it is unclear how he could have fathered her a hundred or so years ago)
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on 23 December 2010
'Dracula's Daughter' is a sequel to Bela Lugosi's 'Dracula'. Edward van Sloan appears again as Van Helsing who is unfortunately under arrest for staking Dracula and having some difficulty in persuading the police that by staking a vampire he is not subject to the charge of murder. Dracula's body disappears having been removed by his daughter Countess Marya Zaleska ( Gloria Holden)who then burns his body hoping to remove her curse of being a vampire. It is to no avail and she continues to kill. Her one hope is Doctor Jeffrey Garth an eminent psychologist whom she feels might save her but it is not to be.
Gloria Holden plays her as a darkly moody character imbued with a lonely sense of hopelessness looking for a cure but unable to find one. Sandor her servant effectively played by Irving Pichel lurks and panders to her needs in order that she will turn him into a vampire. Beautifully shot in black and white with a good print this film is unusual and whilst it deserves to be seen more will probably only find favour with completists who enjoy the old Universal horror films.
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on 6 July 2015
A good film. Gloria Holden especially wanting help. In London, Chelsea her room has strange goings on. Hynotised, her victims lives are at stake, which she brings to them. One his on her way to Transilvania. hunted by a Scotland Yard dectective, Doctor, also as well as another inspector,.How can that be!
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Five years after Bela Lugosi captivated audiences with his definitive portrayal of Count Dracula, Universal released the first Dracula sequel. Dracula's Daughter is a rather strange film, taking up where the first movie left off but going in a direction all its own. You won't find Bela Lugosi here - in the 1930s, killing a character off actually meant something - but you will find Edward Van Sloan reprising his role as Van Helsing (although I didn't really even recognize Van Sloan for some reason). Van Helsing has just dispatched Count Dracula when two policemen burst into the lair underneath Carfax Abbey, see Renfield lying dead on the floor, and arrest Van Helsing for his admitted murder of Dracula. No one is buying the learned professor's vampire defense, and he calls on the one man he thinks can help him - his former student Dr. Garth (Otto Kruger). Strangely enough, he never even mentions the Sewards or Jonathan Harker, although they alone could have provided testimony to help his defense. Dr. Garth doesn't believe Van Helsing's story about Count Dracula, but he agrees to help his former teacher as best he can.
At this same time, Dr. Garth is becoming acquainted with a newly-arrived aristocratic European in London - little does he realize that Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) is herself a vampire. The Countess solicits the help of Dr. Garth in overcoming a terrible compulsion in her life, but the doctor keeps getting pulled away from his talks with the desperate woman by the discovery of new victims of unexplained blood loss. He eventually puts two and two together, but by then his obviously love-struck assistant (played by the lovely Marguerite Churchill) has fallen into the clutches of Dracula's Daughter. This film does finally return us to Transylvania and the Count's forbidding castle, and it is here that the final drama plays out.
This is actually a very good movie, but Gloria Holden, despite delivering an impressive performance, never seems to exhibit the strength and presence of a true vampire. Of course, this may be explained in part by the fact that the Countess views her affliction as a curse and wants to be released from it. Additionally, Dracula's Daughter features nothing rivaling the suspense of Count Dracula's silent attacks on his victims, although the scenes featuring a young victim named Lili (Nan Grey) are played to great effect. This film also toys too frequently with comedy, and this robs it of any truly malevolent power. An anticlimactic ending also proves a bit of a disappointment.
Thanks to Gloria Holden's memorable performance and the unusual nature of the plot (a vampire seeking release), Dracula's Daughter does manage to secure an important place for itself in the Dracula pantheon. It does not, however, come across as a strong vampire film - even Professor Van Helsing is relegated to a secondary player in the action. We barely get a glimpse of the bestial nature of the vampire lurking within the heart and mind of the sophisticated European Countess, making this a horror film quite incapable of disturbing the sleep of its recent viewers with bad dreams.
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