Greatest Film Scenes
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Son of Dracula (1943)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Son of Dracula (1943)

Director Robert Siodmak's first Universal film was this Dracula derivative - it was the third film in Universal's continuing series of films, preceded by the original Bela Lugosi classic Dracula (1931), and its sequel Dracula's Daughter (1936). [Note: The next Universal film to feature the Dracula character was House of Frankenstein (1944).] The film featured a 'son of Dracula' character, Hungarian Count Alucard, notable as the first Dracula to make an appearance on US soil - in the contemporary American South, and the first Dracula film to show the Count's transformation into a bat (as a mist):

  • in the film's opening, a train bearing Count Alucard's possessions arrived in New Orleans, LA; Katherine (or "Kay") Caldwell (Louise Allbritton) had sent family physician Dr. Harry Brewster (Frank Craven) and her own childhood sweetheart-fiancee Frank Stanley (Robert Paige) to greet Count Alucard (Lon Chaney, Jr. with his sole Dracula appearance); he was nowhere to be found, although he was accompanied by lots of suspicious-looking baggage (that were ultimately discovered empty!)
  • meanwhile, Katherine (who was interested in occult matters, the supernatural and things "morbid" after a trip to Budapest, Hungary) was visiting the swamp-dwelling home of gypsy voodoo practitioner Madame Queen Zimba (Adeline De Walt Reynolds) who warned about the Count and the coming of death: ("The angel of death hovers over a great house. I see it in ruins. Weeds, vines growing over it, bats flying in and out the broken windows...Alucard is not his name. You must stop him before it is too late. Stop him before death comes to Dark Oaks....I see you marrying a corpse, living in a grave")
  • a strange squawking, wing-flapping bat materialized nearby and she died of a heart attack due to fright
  • the Caldwell's plantation, known as Dark Oaks, was the site of a welcoming reception to honor Alucard's arrival; due to the Count's absence (although he made a startling appearance outside), aging and wheel-chaired Colonel Caldwell (George Irving) retired to his upstairs bedroom - and was soon approached by the same bat figure - and found dead in his bed (of an apparent heart failure - and "literally frightened to death") although he had two suspicious wound-marks on his throat
  • during the reading of the Colonel's will and instructions that split the Colonel's inheritance equally, Katherine produced a late-dated, alternative will that gave her the sole possession of the Dark Oaks estate, while her younger sister Claire Caldwell (Evelyn Ankers) would receive all cash and securities
  • Katherine was lured to the swamp where the Count's coffin rose from the murky waters; he materialized from smoke or mist that emerged from the opening box; he magically moved across the murky waters towards her, and urged from them to visit a Justice of the Peace Mr. Jonathan Kirby (Robert Dudley) where they were promptly married
The Count's Coffin Rising From Swampy Waters - With Misty Transformation
  • Alucard immediately moved into Dark Oaks with Katherine, stating his preference for it over his homeland: "My land is dry and desolate. The soil is red with the blood of a hundred races. There is no life left there. Here you have a young and vital race...Ours will be a different life, without material needs, a life that will last through eternity"
  • during a major confrontational scene at Dark Oaks, Frank insisted that the Count leave town ("Kay will have the marriage annulled and if you show up here again, you'll be jailed!"); when Frank pulled out his gun, Kay hid behind the Count; he aimed and shot twice at the Count, but the bullets went through the Count's apparently-transparent body and struck Katherine dead; Frank fired more shots into the Count's body, without any effect; he fled from the plantation and was pursued by the Count (in the form of a bat) into the swamp, but was saved by falling unconscious in a graveyard with a crucifix as dawn also approached
  • Frank's story of Katherine's death caused him to think he was insane or hallucinating: ("Am I insane? Could I have shot through Alucard and killed her without hurting him?...The bullets went through him without even hurting him and killed Kay"); his account was contradicted by Dr. Brewster who visited Dark Oaks that same night, where he spoke to both the Count and his newly-wed Katherine (seated in bed); she specified that in the couple's ongoing scientific research, they mostly worked during the day and shouldn't be disturbed
  • eventually, Frank confessed to Katherine's "murder" and was jailed after Sheriff Dawes (Patrick Moriarity) searched Dark Oaks and found her dead in a coffin; he transferred her body to the morgue in the coffin
Kay Found In Coffin
Professor Lazlo Driving the Count Away with a Crucifix
Kay Transforming into Mist and a Bat to Escape From Morgue
  • meanwhile, an authoritative Hungarian specialist and source on vampires named Professor Lazlo (J. Edward Bromberg) from Muirfield University had been questioned earlier and then was summoned to the case; he suspected that the Count was an evil vampire (Count Alucard was Dracula spelled backwards); he claimed: "the last Count Dracula died in the Middle Ages...According to the legends of my people, the last Count Dracula became one of the undead, a vampire, and was finally destroyed in the 19th century"; when the Count encountered him, Lazlo proved he was a vampire when he repelled the Count away with a crucifix held in the palm of his hand
  • in the County Morgue, Kay transformed into mist and escaped through the opening under the doorway; she then flew away as a bat - seen in silhouette through the morgue's doors
  • in the film's climactic scene, the 'undead' Katherine (in bat form) visited Frank in his jail cell; as he slept, she bit his neck - the first step in slowly turning him into a vampire like herself; then in human form, she appeared to him, but he didn't believe she was alive: ("You seem to be cold, like death. You seem to be Kay, but there's a strange difference. It's almost as if I didn't know you"); she confessed her love for Frank: ("I don't love him (Alucard), Frank. I never did") and she encouraged him to join her as an "undead" immortal: ("Count Alucard is immortal. Through him, I attained immortality. Through me, you will do the same and we will spend eternity together"); when he refused, she told him that he was already infected by her bite: ("I've already told you, you have no choice. Frank, isn't eternity together better than a few years of ordinary life?"); he agreed to destroy Dracula by either one of two methods: ("Either drive a stake through his heart or burn his grave before he reaches it. You must do this Frank, for us!")
As a Bat, Kay Sucked Blood From
Frank's Neck in His Jail Cell
Kay to Frank: "We will spend eternity together"
  • after Frank's escape from his cell (with Katherine's help), he set the Count's coffin on fire in the swamp (to destroy the Count's daytime sanctuary), and then, the Count perished in the rising sun (he melted away to skeletal form - revealing the remains of a bony hand and arm)
  • in the downbeat conclusion set at Dark Oaks, Frank entered Katherine's room in the plantation, opened her coffin, and placed his own ring onto her left finger; then, he set Katherine's coffin on fire - to release her from the curse of the vampire; he stood there mourning the loss of his love as the flames consumed her
Frank's Goodbye to Kay
Kay's Fiery End
Final Image

(l to r): Dr. Brewster and Frank Stanley at Train Station

Alucard's Suspicious Baggage

Katherine "Kay" Caldwell (Louise Allbritton)

Queen Zimba Dying of Fright From Flying Bat

First View of Count Alucard Outside Plantation

Kay with Count

Frank's Confrontation - Bullets Struck Katherine Through the Count's Body

Frank Saved When He Fell Unconscious by Gravesite

The 'Undead' Kay in Bed After Being Shot Dead

Frank's Fiery Destruction of the Count's Coffin in the Swamp

The Count's Shriveled Skeletal Hand in Sun


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