Son of Dracula is a 1943 American horror film directed by Robert Siodmak with a screenplay based on an original story by his brother Curt Siodmak. The film stars Lon Chaney, Jr., Louise Allbritton, Robert Paige, Evelyn Ankers, and Frank Craven. The film is set in the United States, where Count Alucard (Chaney Jr.) has just taken up residence. Katherine Caldwell (Allbritton), a student of the occult, becomes fascinated by Alucard and eventually marries him. Katherine begins to look and act strangely, leading her former romantic partner Frank Stanley (Paige) to suspect that something has happened to her. He gets help from Dr. Brewster (Craven) and psychologist Laszlo (J. Edward Bromberg) who come to the conclusion that Alucard is a vampire.
The film is the third in Universal's Dracula film series following Dracula's Daughter (1936). The film was made under different circumstances than the previous two entries in the series with a new Chairman of the Board working at Universal and several horror sequels being made since the success of the film Son of Frankenstein (1939). The film was initially being written by Curt Siodmak who was later replaced by Eric Taylor. Filming began on January 7, 1943 and concluded on February 2. Few documents related to the film's production survive from studio files or trade reports.
Son of Dracula was held back from release for about six months before its premiere in the United States, with the earliest known release date being on October 20, 1943, at Cine Olimpia in Mexico City. On its initial release, the trade magazine Boxoffice declared Son of Dracula as a hit in the United States where its sales were 23% above average. Initial reception to the film was described as "varied" by film historian Gary Rhodes.
Count Alucard is invited by Katherine Caldwell to the United States. Caldwell is one of the daughters of New Orleans plantation owner Colonel Caldwell. Shortly after his arrival, the Colonel dies of an apparent heart failure and leaves his wealth to his two daughters. Claire receives all his money and Katherine his estate "Dark Oaks". Katherine has been secretly dating Alucard and the two are quickly married. Her former long-time boyfriend Frank Stanley confronts the couple and tries to shoot Alucard. The bullets pass through the Count's body and hit Katherine. Assuming she is dead, a shocked Frank runs off to get Dr. Harry Brewster to attend to her. On the doctor's arrival, he is greeted by Alucard and a living Katherine. The couple instruct him that they will be devoting their days to scientific research and only welcome visitors at night. Frank goes on to the police and confesses to the murder of Katherine. Brewster tries to convince the Sheriff that he saw Katherine alive, but the Sheriff insists on searching Dark Oaks. He finds Katherine's dead body and has her transferred to the morgue. Dr. Brewster is shown reading the novel Dracula.
Meanwhile, Hungarian Professor Lazlo arrives at Brewster's house. Brewster has noticed that Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards and Lazlo suspects vampirism. A local boy brought to Brewster's house confirms this suspicion—there are bite marks on his neck. Later, the Count appears to Brewster and Lazlo but is driven away by a cross. Katherine sneaks into Frank's cell and explains that she only married Alucard (who is really Dracula himself) to obtain immortality and wants to share it with Frank. He is initially repulsed by her idea, but then yields to her. After she explains that she has already drunk some of his blood, she advises him on how to destroy Alucard. He breaks out of prison, seeks out Alucard's hiding place and burns his coffin. Without his daytime sanctuary, Alucard is destroyed when the sun rises. Brewster, Lazlo, and the Sheriff arrive at the scene to find Alucard's remains.
Meanwhile, Frank stumbles into the playroom where Katherine said she would be. He finds her coffin and gazes down at her lifeless body. Knowing he must kill the love of his life, Frank takes off his ring and puts it on Katherine's left ring finger. Once Brewster and the others reach the room, they see Frank appear at the door. He steps back allowing them to follow. As they enter the room, they see Katherine's burning coffin. They all stare, speechlessly, while Frank mourns the loss of his love.