First time I saw this, I was unexpectedly impressed by it. Second time less so, for some reason. Third time and I’m kind of impressed again; watching it after seeing the Frankenstein films and The Wolf Man like I’ve done, it’s kind of startling to come across one of those films with a defined setting (the American south) like its predecessors in the Dracula series rather than the geographically and chronologically vague not-quite-Europe(s) of the other films. That said, there’s still a vagueness in the title (much as there is with Dracula’s Daughter; what actually is Marya Zaleska’s relation to the big D?); are we actually dealing with another of Dracula’s offspring, or with the count himself? Or has the offspring just inherited the title? Or none of the above? Does it matter, anyway? I suppose it does if you’re trying to reconcile each series and work out how the events of each film relate to the others, but as we should know by now that way lies madness. What matters is that this actually is worth watching; looking at it again it’s easier to see forebodings of the noir stylings director Robert Siodmak would become more noted for through the rest of the decade, and to see the greater degree of effort put into achieving some kind of mood and style than we saw in Ghost of Frankenstein… and Lon Chaney Jr is nowhere near as bad in the title role (whatever it is, exactly) as some would insist.
Son of Dracula (1943)