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“Vampire’s Daughter” is one of the classic movies, made in 1936. It is an American vampire horror film produced by “Universal Pictures” and according to most of the critics and experts, it is the sequel of the film “Dracula” that was released in 1931. The movie Vampire’s Daughter is based on the story of a Countess “Marya Zaleska” who is the daughter of Count Dracula and is a vampire herself. The whole movie is based on the belief of the Marya that she would be free of the influence of her father after his death (Dracula's death) and would live a normal life. Another importance aspect of this movie is the battle between Dr. Garth and Countess. Dr. Jeffrey Garth is a psychiatrist to whom Marya returns after she fails to have a normal life. The battle between the Dr. Garth and the Countess starts because she wants to take revenge for her failure when she fails to have a normal life. Countess kidnaps Garth’s fiancé Janet and takes her to Transylvania.
When this movie was released different critics comment upon it. After the successful release of the film, it was declared a little less than the original one but as a whole, it was a well-reviewed movie. After decades, severe criticism was seen over this movie and according to few critics, this movie has strong lesbian overtone that could be traced back right from the start of the advertisement and production. It has also been claimed that this tone of the movie was exploited in the early advertisement. There are many other sequels as well made by Universal production that were named after the main title Dracula. For example, in 1943 a trilogy was completed with the movie title "Son of Dracula".
Upon the release of this movie, “New York Times” gave a solid and albeit comment, somewhere tongue in cheek review. New York Times cited the film's blood-curdling events and also commented upon Gloria Holden’s performance, declaring her a remarkable convincing bat-woman. As a whole, it was said that the movie had both elements of terror and horror. Many other media houses wrote a lot about Vampire’s daughter before and after its release (Denny et al, pp.117-132). According to “Variety”, which is an American media house, it was a well-organized movie and also praised Holden’s performance. At the same time, “Variety” critically commented that Vampire's daughter is not as successful as the original at the box office. The later critic is split sharply and as per “Entertainment Weekly”, it is one of the most satisfying vampire pictures ever made. Entertainment Weekly also critically evaluate the work of the director Hillyer and appreciated his efforts regarding the visuals of this movie.
The practice of commenting and critically evaluating the performance of actors as well as the efforts of the director and production house is common, for decades. Likewise, it was seen in the case of “Vampire’s Daughter” where different critics highlighted both the negative and positive aspects of the film. One of the most exciting things about this movie is its comparison with other films which shows that this movie has a resemblance to other works as well. A critic and senior analyst, Ryan Cracknell, from Apollo Movie Guide, compared this movie with "reading a textbook". He also claimed that though, it provides insights into the perspectives regarding the foundation of the early horror movie (Benson et al, pp. 11-21). He also mentioned that this movie highlights the similarities being carried into the movie even half a century later. A lot has been written about the movie and this fact cannot be denied that on one side positive points were highlighted regarding the movie and on the other hand, negative aspects of the movie were also spotted. It won’t be wrong to say that there are mixed kind of comments regarding this movie i.e. some called it better than the original movie and some called it, little less than the original. According to Michael W. Philips, Vampire's daughter showed a marked improvement in the original film. He also claimed that more focus was shifted on the comic elements and not enough on the element of horror and suspense. Michael found Holden's and Pichel's portrayal stronger of all the characters of the movie by saying that he found all the other cast weak.
Another appealing point while reading about the critique on this movie is, it gave opportunities to see the basis upon which the movie is critically evaluated by the experts. Analysis of the movie critique shows that different media houses and media journalists are the key factors that point towards the strengths and weaknesses of a movie. Though, Vampire's daughter was released decades before, but still, there were seen lesbian implications. Studies show lesbian vampire has been a major trend and Joseph Sheridan Le Fan‘s novella “Carmilla” but in the film history, it was for the very first time that the lesbian element was incorporated in Vampire’s daughter. From the beginning of the film, the lesbian implication could be seen. Some of the scenes that directly spot on the lesbian implications were ignored and some were highlighted which shows that only some of the critics were aware of this aspect of the film (Wilk et al, 44-47). Some of the reviewers condemned the lesbian content and among those condemners is New York World-Telegram which spots a light in the Countess’s tendency of having an eye on the sweet young girls. According to Entertainment Weekly, it is hard to believe that the hot scene between Countess and Lili passed 30s censors. Vito Russo, a gay film historian in his book “The Celluloid Closet” talked about the attraction of Countess towards the women. Countess wanted to have the cure to her vampirism and the former position of mainstream psychiatry of homosexuality as it has been portrayed as a mental illness. Countess cruising on the London streets symbolizes her cruising for sex and presents society’s image of the lesbian as the soulless predator.
So taking a look at the above mentioned comments being written by different critics, media houses and analysts, it could be said that it is interesting to see various angles from which the characters, themes, and scenes of the movie were analyzed. Much has been written about “Vampire’s daughter” that shows how different areas of the movie are seen by different analysts. The major thing being seen in this movie is, the lesbian implication that was introduced for the very first time in any movie, though this theme has been part of the literature for long. It won't be wrong to say that both positive and negative things are highlighted and to some extent, this is the beauty of a movie when critics spot both (positive and negative) elements. So as a whole, it could be promulgated that it is the movie in which a vampire wanted to get off her vampirism and battled with Dr. Garth.
Benson, Chloe. "' She's That Kind of a Woman': Tracing the Gender and Sexual Politics of the Female Vampire via The Hunger and American Horror Story: Hotel." Gender and Contemporary Horror in Television. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2019. 11-21.
Denny, Matthew. "‘In Celebration of Her Wickedness?’: Critical Intertextuality and the Female Vampire in Byzantium." Gender and Contemporary Horror in Film. Emerald Publishing Limited, 2019. 117-132.
Wilk, Stephen R. "Ultraviolet, the Vampire Slayer." Optics and Photonics News 30.10 (2019): 44-47.
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