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 <email@example.com>
Bela Lugosi filmed this Columbia feature August 21-September 1943, prior to his final two Monogram films. This was also the last time he would receive top billing for a major Hollywood studio. See more »
In the establishing shot of Tesla's book (which shows Tesla's picture on one page and the text on the other) the text is in a fairly small font and the lines spread wide across the page. In the second close-up insert of the text itself, the font is considerably larger and the lines considerably narrower. See more »
Come Andreas. I must find a new resting place. There you will bring the coffin with my native soil...
... and then, Andreas, I have other plans!
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This has got to be one of Bela's most underrated performances, a bright spot among the dreariness of Monogram potboilers. Columbia allows him to both reference Dracula while at the same time expanding the definition of vampirism by having him play Dr. Armand Tessla, the "depraved Roumanian scientist" who is so obsessed with evil that he actually becomes a bloodsucker. (there is also a nifty sketch of Lugosi drawn in a book about his character) Lugosi is alternately sinister, avuncular, lovestruck, arrogant, and commanding. His voice, usually cause for laughter at its ripe indelibility, is used extremely effectively as a whisper when he is calling Nina Foch into the graveyard. ("Just a little bit further--further--further!") This is actually quite eerie. His exchanges with Matt Willis are atmospheric and believable, in that someone undead would naturally have supernatural acolytes surrounding him. (so what if they sprout facial hair; that just gives the acolyte more "texture") I have to disagree with viewers who think Willis is ridiculous as a talking wolf; I happen to think he's the best thing in the film. Willis' natural speaking voice is kind of strange, half Southern, half something..and when he's the werewolf with those teeth his line readings are really creepy. My favorite is when he's saying "as if they could tell what happened!" and then he chuckles. He is really effective. The whole production is sort of tongue in cheek and the Britishness at its height. (Frieda Inescort: "The Gerries have rather taken things out of your hands") The WWII element adds more interest, and Lugosi has a droll line that he is going out of his hotel but, "whether I can be reached is another matter." A jarring note is Foch's boyfriend, who has "Lady Jane" as his mother and yet speaks with a German or Dutch accent. All in all, a must for Lugosi fans and all other horror film fans interested in how Columbia does this kind of movie as opposed to Universal.
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