Having finished destroying Count Dracula, Professor Von Helsing (Edward Van Sloan, reprising his role from Dracula) is arrested by two police constables, Wilkes and Albert (E.E. Clive and Billy Bevan) and taken to Scotland Yard, where he explains to Sir Basil Humphrey (Gilbert Emery) that he did indeed destroy Count Dracula, but he had been dead for 500 years, so it cannot be considered murder. Instead of hiring a lawyer, he hires psychiatrist Doctor Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger), a former student.

Sergeant Wilkes leaves the Whitby Gaol to meet an officer from Scotland Yard, arriving by train. Dracula’s daughter Countess Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden) enters the gaol and hypnotizes Constable Albert with the aid of her ring and her servant Sandor (Irving Pichel). They make off with Dracula’s body and burn it in a ritual, hoping to break his vampiric curse on her. But she soon is overcome by bloodlust and returns to her predatory ways. Meeting Doctor Garth at a party, she asks him for help. He advises her to confront her cravings.

The countess sends Sandor out to find her a model to paint, and he finds a pretty young woman named Lili (Nan Grey). The countess resists her urges for a while and finally attacks her. Surviving the attack, but unconscious Lili is examined by Doctor Garth and he surmises that the deed was done by the countess, but then Lili succumbs to heart failure and dies.

The countess embraces her urges and lures Doctor Garth to Transylvania by kidnapping his secretary Janet Blake (Marguerite Churchill), whom Doctor Garth cares for a great deal. Zaleska’s goal is to transform Doctor Garth into a vampire. When he arrives at Castle Dracula, he offers his life in exchange for that of Janet. But, angry that the countess has broken her promise to make him immortal, Sandor shoots an arrow into her heart. Then he turns upon Doctor Garth. However, Von Helsing has followed from London with Scotland Yard policemen, who shoot Sandor dead.

The film was a sequel to Dracula produced by Universal Pictures, directed by Lambert Hillyer from a screenplay by Garrett Fort. It is supposed to have been based on a deleted chapter from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, published as a short story called Dracula’s Guest. But if so, the film departed strongly from the source. It could also have been based on an 1872 gothic novel called Carmilla, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, often supposed to be the first British novel about lesbianism.

Originally purchased by David O. Selznick for MGM, it was sold to Universal in 1934. James Whale of Frankenstein fame was to have directed, but Lambert Hillyer was hired instead. It was well received, though overshadowed by Dracula, and has always been controversial. Universal exploited the lesbian undertones in early advertising. John L. Balderston, who had worked on the original Dracula and on Frankenstein, was hired to write the screenplay. What he created was heavy on the sado-masochistic side with whips and chains and dungeons. It came to nothing, not because of any squeamishness on the part of the studio, but because Selznick had copyright problems with the Bram Stoker characters. In the end, to please the production code, the model Lili was not nude and the countess’s attraction to her was underplayed.

Zaleska was Gloria Holden’s first role and, like many actors at the time, she looked down on horror films. Ironically, her disgust came off as self-loathing on the part of the countess, which worked quite well. Originally, the film was supposed to star Bela Lugosi, Jane Wyatt, Colin Clive, Boris Karloff, and Cesar Romero, but none of that happened. Anne Rice called it an inspiration for her homoerotic vampire fiction, but reviews varied from those who thought it dripped homoeroticism to those who apparently saw none of it, such that one wonders if they had seen the same movie. Hedda Hopper played Lady Esme Hammond. Dracula’s corpse was a waxwork image of Bela Lugosi. In 2020, a 6-minute short, also called Dracula’s daughter, was made by Tony Laudati, which consists of only one scene, featuring Ausma Fiame as Countess Zaleska and Juliet Pickard as the model Lili—basically erotic fanfiction.

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