In 1918, an English family are terrorized by a vampire, until they learn how to deal with it. They think their troubles are over, but German bombs in WWII free the monster. He reclaims the soul of his wolfman ex-servant, and assuming the identity of a scientist who has just escaped from a concentration camp, he starts out on a plan to get revenge upon the family. Written by
Ken Yousten <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the 18th-century, Dr. Armand Tesla, a "depraved" Romanian scientist, developed an unhealthy obsession with the supernatural--vampires in particular--and became a foul creature of the night shortly after his death. Flash forward to 1918 and Tesla, with the help of his rather pathetic werewolf slave, has relocated to a desolate cemetery in London. After preying on the young niece of the intrepid scientist Walter Saunders, who immediately deduces a vampire is on the loose, Saunders and his colleague Lady Jane Ainsley find the vampire in his lair & drive a spike through his heart.
Twenty-five years later, German bombers disturb the cemetery where Tesla lays at rest & two cockney civil-defense workers remove the stake from the vampire's unearthed body. That night, Tesla sets out to reclaim his now reformed flunky, Andreas, whose "iron-will" shows through as it takes no more than a few minutes in Tesla's presence before he's furring out again. The vampire sets out to take revenge on those responsible for his quarter-century dirtnap, but like all malevolent beings in these types of horror films, his cruel mistreatment of his servant will eventually come back to bite him...
"The Return of the Vampire", while no masterpiece, is chock full of some wonderful atmosphere & images: the fog-bound cemeteries, Lugosi's outstretched cape, the entranced young beauty (Nina Foch) hypnotically walking through the graveyard. Speaking of those graveyards, have you ever stopped to wonder how this vampire can be so repulsed when a cross is shoved in his face, yet has no trouble stalking around cemeteries littered with giant stone-crosses.
Lugosi, of course, still has his vampire-mojo working, his line readings being as priceless as ever. As for his servant, was there any point in subjecting Matt Willis to a werewolf makeup, aside from Columbia feeling the need to jump on the bandwagon in light of that "Wolf Man" character that was making money for Universal Pictures. Matt's role could've just as easily been played as a totally human lapdog (ala Renfield). Being in a lycanthropic state doesn't enhance the character in anyway--the only thing the fur does is give Willis the dubious distinction of being one of the sorriest specimens of werewolf to prowl through a Hollywood movie.
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