Son of Dracula (1943)
Directed by: Robert Siodmak
Written by: Eric Taylor
Starring: Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton, Lon Chaney Jr., Frank Craven, J. Edward Bromberg, Evelyn Ankers, George Irving, Adeline De Walt Reynolds
This is the third movie in Universal's Dracula series, though it isn't really much of a sequel to Dracula and Dracula's Daughter. Junior had already played the Wolf Man, Kharis the Mummy and Frankenstein's Monster by this point, and tries his hand at The Count. He's terrible.
I watched this movie once a long time ago, and it hasn't improved much since then. This particular entry is set in the southern United States, Louisiana or someplace swampy (Kharis ended up down there in the swamp too. Why?), with the mysterious Count Alucard (!) being brought to his girlfriend's plantation. The girlfriend's boyfriend (eh...) gets quite concerned about her behaviour, and then she turns into a vampire, and things really go downhill for him.
The movie has potential - they could make a pretty good remake of it (there was a film of the same title made in '74 but it didn't have too much to do with this movie. It had Ringo in it...) - it's biggest problem being Junior's hideously bad acting.
I guess he's trying to be sexy and mysterious or something, but he comes off as wooden and horrible. Of course, he only has about three lines of dialogue in the whole movie (I expect they cut a lot of it), but he's still ruddy awful. No one else was that bad.
The special effects have improved quite a bit. The bat to man transformations alone are monumentally better than they were in the 1931 Dracula (shot of bat flapping in window; cut to shot of Frances Dade/Helen Chandler sleeping peacefully; cut back to window with Bela. Incredible!). You actually see the bat turning into The Count (wow!). You also get to see him changing back and forth from a cloud of mist. I thought it was cool, okay?
There was also a cool scene in there where he rises up out of the swamp and rides his coffin across the water. The whole movie actually had a nice look to it.
Anyway, another problem I had was that The Count marries his girlfriend before turning her into a vampire (et cetera). I mean, what kind of lamewad vampire does that? (Christopher Lee sure as shit doesn't.)
And a bat that size would eat fruit anyway. Vampire bats are tiny. I mean, Jesus, don't these people know anything?