Son of Dracula (1943), the third in Universal Studios' Dracula trilogy, beginning with Dracula (1931) and Dracula's Daughter (1936) was directed by Robert Siodmak. The screenplay was written by Eric Taylor, based on an original story by Siodmak’s brother Curt Siodmak who had written the screenplays for The Wolf Man (1941), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944) and The Beast with Five Fingers (1946).
The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr. in his only appearance as a vampire and Evelyn Ankers who also appeared with Chaney in The Wolf Man (1941) and The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942).
Son of Dracula (1943), is noted for being the first film to actually show a vampire physically transforming into a bat on screen. The effect was achieved by special-effects wizard, John P. Fulton who also created the special-effects for The Invisible Man (1933). He would later win an Academy Award in 1957 for his work on The Ten Commandments (1956), mainly for his work on the parting of the Red Sea.
Despite its dazzling special effects the film is noted for a number of flaws, primarily the casting of Lon Chaney Jr. in the role of Count Alucard (Dracula spelled backwards). While Chaney had proven to be a capable actor in a number of horror films for Universal, he was simply not the right actor to portray a suave and sophisticated count. The entire film suffers from Chaney’s inability to play the role of Count Alucard. Another legendary flaw, noted by fans and film historians alike, is the fact that Chaney’s character’s reflection can plainly be seen in the mirror in one of the scenes. A clear indication of carelessness or lack of knowledge about vampire lore on the part of the director.
Son of Dracula (1943) could have been a much better film instead at best it is a lackluster addition to the Dracula story and is considered one of Universal’s lesser horror films. Much of the blame has been placed in screenwriter’s Eric Taylor’s attempt to modernize the Gothic vampire placing the story on a modern day New Orleans plantation. Although the character Dracula would appear in other Universal horror films, Son of Dracula (1943), would be his last solo appearance during the Universal classic horror years.