“Sympathetic treatment will release the mind from any obsession.”
Dracula’s daughter (Gloria Holden) seeks help from a psychologist (Otto Kruger) to cure her affliction, despite constant reminders from her cruel servant (Irving Pichel) that she has a family legacy to consider.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this “low-budget, still neglected chiller” is “cleverly plotted, atmospheric, and erotic”, and argues that it’s “better than the original” — specifically “at conveying the sexuality implicit in the vampire legend”. He calls out the film’s “most famous scene”, in which Holden’s servant (Irving Pachel) invites a young girl (“lovely” Nan Grey) up to their apartment to pose as Holden’s model; Holden “obviously feels attracted to the half-naked girl and ends up seducing her with her eyes”, then “draining her blood”. It’s a powerfully filmed sequence, one which clearly indicates that Holden’s desires are simply too strong to resist on her own. Indeed, part of what makes the film so appealing is that Holden’s “smart, cultured” character “doesn’t wish to carry on [Dracula’s] evil ways”: while her father was “not to be sympathized with”, given that it was “by choice rather than happenstance that he [did] evil”, Holden’s desperate quest to find a cure for her vampirism makes her an unusually sympathetic “monster”. Both a victim and a villain, she’s someone we’re actually rooting for up until the film’s unfortunately “rushed ending”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Gloria Holden as Countess Marya Zaleska
- Marguerite Churchill as Janet (Kruger’s lively assistant and fiancee)
- Holden’s seduction of Lily (Nan Grey)
- Holden’s contentious rapport with her manservant, Sandor (Irving Pachel)
- Atmospheric cinematography
- Memorable imagery
Yes, as a seductive follow-up to an early classic.