The plot kicks off in quite a feeble manner with little justification for Katherine’s initial fixation with the count and his arrival. Generally what follows is what seems like simply an excuse to continue the series whilst taking advantage of Universal’s newfound star or terror, Lon Chaney’s son (this genre stardom arising primarily as a result of The Wolfman but his most acclaimed role overall was Of Mice and Men prior to that). One of the most prominent problems is that, aside from a Hungarian with an American accent, Chaney Junior doesn’t make a particularly good count, though I did like the way he handled the sequence where he’s being shot at. One scene where things get a little silly occurs when some woman brings in her blood-drained boy to the doctor: already aware of Alucard’s local vampiric threat the doctor immediately treats the neck bite by painting two small crosses over the wounds and promising that the boy will make a full recovery - first time I’ve seen that one! The score is very typical of how a composer of the period would define genre music and is likable and corny in almost equal measure. As far as special effects are concerned, the bouncing bat has improved marginally since the 1931 Dracula and there’s also a little animation helping Chaney transform from human to bat and back again.
Black levels on the now quite old DVD transfer are very good, as is detail and sharpness, however the image is sometimes plagued by flickering and contrast instability which slightly spoils what would otherwise have been an excellent picture. Audio is fine. Whilst not complete rubbish, Son of Dracula is not an exceptional film in any sense and its creation seems to have been derived almost purely from commercial decision-making. Having said that, the film’s downbeat conclusion is quite surprising.