Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

I know we’re all supposed to hate formula, but there’s something comforting and liberating about it. I’d never seen Dracula’s Daughter before, but knowing it was a sequel to a Universal Horror Film, I mostly knew what to expect. I could expect to see the same sets from the original film repurposed. I knew to expect an interesting array of character actors with distinct faces to distract from the lack of a “star”, and I knew to expect the rather bland heroes. I knew it would take place in some odd time period that both is and is not the 1930’s. Most importantly, I knew that this film’s very existence would rely upon some wild retconning in order to explain the continuation of a story that was meant to be done with. So yes there are formulas and limitations, but it also requires the filmmakers to get wild and silly in order to make it work. That’s how you get to Dracula’s bi-sexual daughter who wants to put an end to her hunger and to settle down with a man for eternity. It’s both progressive in subject matter and regressive in approach to that subject matter. Or is the film’s conclusion a refutation of the Countess’ desire to change? Or is the fact that she was (presumably) once human a way of saying that it’s possible to “make” people queer? Lots to chew on in a 71 minute movie.

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