The mysterious Count Alucard journeys to New Orleans at the invitation of Katherine Caldwell (Louise Allbritton). Colonel Caldwell (George Irving), Katherine's father, dies soon after Alucard's arrival, leaving his plantation to Katherine, while her sister Claire(Evelyn Ankers) inherits his fortune. Katherine soon spurns her boyfriend Frank Stanley(Robert Paige), marrying Alucard. During a confrontation, Frank tries to shoot Alucard, but the bullets pass through the Count and hit Katherine. Mortified, Frank runs away.
Frank goes to his friend Dr. Brewster(Frank Craven) for help. When Brewster pays a visit to the couple, he finds Katherine seemingly alive and well. Alucard and Katherine inform the doctor that their days are consumed with their new scientific research; thus, they will only accept visitors at night. With the arrival of Professor Lazlo(J. Edward Bromberg), the vampiric nature of Alucard is revealed, and the three of them realize that Katherine has become a vampire as well. Ominously, Lazlo realizes what name is revealed when "Alucard" is spelled backward...
The cast is good overall, but the standout is easily Louise Allbritton's Katherine. She ranges from feigned innocence to seductive persuasion to coldly manipulative with ease, becoming the films most interesting character. As the film nears its conclusion, she has usurped Alucard as the most dangerous threat to the other characters in the film.
Curt Siodmak, and ably directed by his brother Robert Siodmak, Son of Dracula is an atmospheric thriller that ranks among the best horror films of the 1940s despite its flaws. The New Orleans setting lends it a unique quality among the classic horror films, and the Universal horrors in particular. The film notably features the first time a vampire transforms into a bat onscreen, an effect achieved by Academy Award-winning visual effects guru John P. Fulton. Ultimately, Son of Dracula may be only a minor classic in the Universal canon, but this often-overlooked film is a gem that is well worth spending 80 minutes with.