Gary D. Rhodes guides a ghostly ship through the bayous and backwaters of Louisiana, casting his lantern’s light on the vampires of Universal’s 1943 classic Son of Dracula. Also illuminated are the film’s production history and its original script. Unmoored from the errors of the past, Rhodes, Tom Weaver, Robert Guffey and Robert J. Kiss do that research voodoo that they do so well.
“An engaging, thoroughly researched and accessible book that will appeal to film researchers and fans alike. Son of Dracula is finally receiving the attention it deserves.”
- Dr. Alison Peirse, After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film
“This is the ultimate tribute to Son of Dracula, an underrated jewel in Universal’s 1940s horror pantheon: a reproduction of director Robert Siodmak’s annotated script, plus some superb bonuses. Sink y9our fangs into it now!”
- Steve Kronenberg, Universal Terrors 1951 - 1955
Contains the script, production history, fun facts, the pressbook, and essays by Robet Siodmak and Curt Siodmak.
The Scripts from the Crypt Express keeps chugging along, this time spotlighting a movie a good bit more respectable than past honorees: #9 is devoted to director Robert Siodmak’s Son of Dracula (1943) – a movie I have always enjoyed.
Gary D. Rhodes, the top-billed writer for this stanza, provides a production history that’s also a bit more respectable (i.e., respectFUL) than the Crypt series norm, i.e., production histories written by Tom Weaver. Weaver stakes out for himself the Fun Facts chapter, which kicks off with the irreverent question, “If vampires never age, how did the Son of Dracula ever get to be anything but a newborn baby?” Other observations are pretty snarky, some are politically incorrect, but all are perceptive.
The first part of the book is rounded out by a purposely silly intro by former kid actor Donnie Dunagan (the Son of Frankenstein introduces the Son of Dracula), a boring Robert Guffey think piece, a Rich Scrivani critique of Lon Chaney’s performance as “Count Alucard” and a typically all-inclusive Dr. Robert J. Kiss chapter on Son’s theatrical and TV release history. Dr. Kiss is an impressive historian.
This is followed by a reproduction of the script, which is heavily scribbled-on and marked-up, but this is acceptable because it was Robert Siodmak’s own copy, and includes many interesting handwritten notes and new dialogue that he provided.
Then comes the movie’s pressbook; an expanded version of Gregory William Mank’s Women in Horror Films, 1940s chapter on Louise Allbritton; a never-before-published interview with Universal Horrors premier composer Hans J. Salter; a short section on Universal’s never-made Wolfman vs. Dracula; and a smorgasbord of vintage (1932-41) newspaper articles and miscellaneous clippings on Chaney Jr. The 1946 article “In Defense of the Ghouls” by Son of Dracula co-writer Curt Siodmak (concentrating on contemporary horror films) is a nice companion piece to something ELSE found in the book, the 1943 article “Horror Pictures” by Curt’s brother Robert, Son’s director.
There are no rarities among the photos but there are some
fun frame grabs, including one revealing a large boom microphone reflected in a
window pane, and an insert shot of two pages of the novel Dracula in which we
can see that the text is entirely composed to two short paragraphs repeated
many times. The book starts and finishes with amusing pieces of Photoshopped
art designed to make the reader smile coming and going. My favorite photo is a
striking shot of Louise Albritton and a raven. The cover is a nicely colorized
version of one of the movie’s familiar stills (Chaney as Count Alucard and his
bride in the movie, Allbritton) and the back cover includes an R.S.V.P. wedding
invitation with the BearManor panda as its insignia. Monster Movie History at
its most O.C.Detailed and whimsical. (BearManor Media softcover, $39.95.)
-- Laura Wagner