Dracula’s Daughter tells the story of Countess Marya Zaleska, the daughter of Count Dracula and herself a vampire. Following Dracula’s death, she believes that by destroying his body she will be free of his influence and live normally. When this fails, she turns to a psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger). He, in turn, has a fiance, Janet (Marguerite Churchill). The Countess kidnaps Janet and takes her to Transylvania, leading to a battle between Dr. Garth and the Countess in an attempt by him to save Janet.
Ostensibly based on a short story titled “Dracula’s Guest” by Bram Stoker, the film bears no resemblance to the original source material. David O. Selznick initially purchased the rights to the story for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Selznick, likely knowing[weasel words] he could not legally make the film because of Universal’s copyright on the original film, sold the rights to Universal. After first assigning the picture to James Whale, Universal production head Carl Laemmle, Jr. finally put Hillyer in the director’s chair.
While not as successful as the original upon its release, the film was generally well-reviewed. In the intervening decades, criticism has been deeply divided. Contemporary critics and scholars have noted the film’s strong lesbian overtones, which Universal acknowledged from the start of production and exploited in some early advertising.