Her Eternal Thirst

Dracula’s Daughter is the original lesbian vampire movie. After the success of Bride of Frankenstein, Universal intended to give Dracula the same high quality sequel treatment. Although its rushed production was out of their control due to MGM attempting to purchase the rights to a potential sequel. Dracula’s Daughter is based on Bram Stoker’s short story “Dracula’s Guest.” Even though it has more in common with an early 1872 lesbian vampire novel titled Carmilla. I never attempted to watch Dracula’s Daughter before since it’s not the classic it hoped to be. The only similarity to Bride of Frankenstein is taking place immediately after Dracula.

Edward Van Sloan returns as a renamed Professor Von Helsing who just finished driving a stake through Dracula’s heart. Renfield’s body is discovered by the police, but John or Mina Harker are nowhere to be seen. Most of Von Helsing’s time is spent being questioned for murder by Scotland Yard. Otto Kruger takes over as psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Garth who makes the movie very talk heavy with his slightly comedic relationship with Janet played by Marguerite Churchill. Most of the gothic atmosphere is seen with Countess Marya Zaleska’s sudden appearance.

As the first female Universal monster given a central role, Dracula’s daughter can’t compare to her father. She initially wears a black burca and a hypnotic ring, but most of the time her appearance is ordinary. Gloria Holden plays more of a reluctant vampire who seeks a cure, yet cannot deny her urges. Irving Pichel also stands out as a loyal human assistant who finds fresh victims. The lesbian undertones are undenyable and kind of shocking for 1936. Zaleska having a woman undress before biting her is surprisingly risque. Zaleska takes Janet back home to Transylvania where she hovers over her lips for a long time. But it’s still Garth that she wants in the end. Though she meets the same fate as her father, Dracula’s Daughter can only go so far without the original Count Dracula.

11. Dracula's Daughter

Countess Marya Zaleska lays Dracula to rest

Preceded by: Dracula & Followed by: Son of Dracula

9 thoughts on “Her Eternal Thirst

  1. That they got away with keeping the intended subtext that Gloria Holden’s vampire lusts for both men and women is an amazing feat. I found the character being reluctant, yet also unable to break away from her family’s bloody past quite refreshing, and interesting precursor to the 1966-71 Soap Dark Shadows. According to both Wikipedia and IMDb, originally the plan was for Marya to be something of a dominatrix who did bizarre things with her victims, and was to be hinted at with a room full of strange stuff, but never got pass the planning stages.

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  2. I saw Dracula’s Daughter years ago seeing it as a Junior High Student sneaking up in the middle of the night to watch it on late night TV.

    I don’t remember it but I remember I didn’t like it as well as the Bela Lugosi 1931 Dracula.

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  3. It’s a fine movie, but hardly classic cinema. I don’t know, something is missing here. It’s too bad that they didn’t use Bela. Anyhow, funny that Holden’s granddaughter became famous thanks to TV’s The Walking Dead!

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      1. Laurie Holden in The Walking Dead (granny would have been proud):

        Funny but true story: Gloria Holden passed her first child, “Larry” Holden, as her brother in order to make herself appear younger. Allegedly, “Larry” didn’t even know the truth — he thought her mother was her sister. Larry’s stage name was Glenn Corbett (Wikipedia has confused him with a younger actor named, yes, Glenn Corbett!). “Larry” aka Glenn is Laurie’s dad.

        Liked by 1 person

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