HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Black Panther
Children's Hour, The
Mayhem
Sphere
Guyver, The
Night School
Loveless
Ragtime
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
Murders in the Rue Morgue
Wound, The
Scalawag
Let's Get Harry
Girl with Green Eyes
Sunchaser, The
Tom Jones
Downsizing
Defiant Ones, The
Centerfold Girls, The
Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The
120 BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Police Academy 3: Back in Training
Safe Place, A
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
Cargo
Entertainer, The
Wing Commander
Look Back in Anger
Early Man
Killdozer
   
 
Newest Articles
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
   
 
  Blood of the Vampire Shoot The Juice To Me, BruceBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: Henry Cass
Stars: Donald Wolfit, Vincent Ball, Barbara Shelley, Victor Maddern, William Devlin, Andrew Faulds, John Le Mesurier, Bryan Coleman, Cameron Hall, George Murcell, Julian Strange, Bruce Wightman, Barbara Burke, Bernard Bresslaw, Hal Osmond, Milton Reid
Genre: Horror
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is well known that the best way to prevent a vampire from returning from the dead to drink the blood of the living is to drive a stake through its heart, and so it is tonight when the body of the recently deceased Dr Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) has that action performed upon it, the locals believing he was a supernatural menace when he was alive. But he had an ally in the deformed Carl (Victor Maddern) who fetches the drunken local doctor to perform a heart transplant on the body, which he does, then is murdered by Carl to cover up the surgery...

But actually Callistratus is not a vampire in the traditional sense, for in spite of being raised from the dead in the first few minutes he didn't go around biting jugular veins to slake his thirst, this was a more scientific approach we were seeing. You could observe it was a cross between the Frankenstein and Dracula movies with which the British studio Hammer made their name, and that was no coincidence for those efforts shared a writer in Jimmy Sangster, who was on script duties here as well. He had just enjoyed a huge international hit with Curse of Frankenstein which is likely why Blood of the Vampire more closely resembles that.

Rather than the Hammer Dracula which was shot almost simultaneously with this, hailing from producer Monty Berman, a man who prompted a few Hammer aping movies for a brief period, in some territories doing even better than them thanks to his habit of filming stronger versions for overseas, the British version being rather toned down in light of the harsher censorship the country was labouring under at the time. Certainly here the purpose appeared to have been to craft something as lurid, if not more, than the Frankenstein picture, and you can see its almost slavish methods of trying to one up that rival in practically every other scene.

For the lead villain they hired Wolfit, a reliable old barnstormer of the theatre who made occasional big screen appearances; his reputation was as a ham, which naturally was precisely what a horror such as this needed and didn't they know it. Although offscreen for the best part of twenty minutes as the plot is established, when he did show up he made his impression as a lipsmacking villain of the Tod Slaughter school, indeed if Slaughter had survived you could envisage him taking just this type of role. That setting up sees unfairly accused doctor John Pierre (Vincent Ball) lose his court case and sent to an asylum.

Guess who runs the asylum? That's right, Dr Callistratus, and he has orchestrated the delivery of Pierre to the castle which is heavily guarded with wardens and fierce dogs, with word only gradually getting out that there is an inordinate amount of inmates dying there. That's because the head of the asylum is experimenting on them all the better to understand their blood, which he taps into his own veins to keep himself alive, and Pierre seems like the very chap who can allow him to move on and make a breakthrough which would cease the necessity of such an operation; our hero is suitably appalled, and for a long stretch Blood of the Vampire comes across like a prototype for The Shawshank Redemption as he and his cellmate Kurt (William Devlin) do their very best to escape. They're not alone, as Pierre's fiancée Madeleine (Barbara Shelley starting her run as a great Briitsh horror star) plots to free them only to end up a potential victim herself - you know how this will go from the start, a bloodthirsty nature marking it out as not slick, yet enjoyable. Music by Stanley Black.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1235 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
   

 

Last Updated: