A number of swamp land men have died by strangulation and the inhabitants believe that an innocent man they hanged is seeking revenge on all of the male descendants of those responsible for... See full summary »
Rosemary La Planche,
A man on a fishing trip with three of his friends receives a blow to the head that makes him lose his memory. Three years later it all comes back to him, but on the day it does one of the men who was on the trip with him turns up dead.
An archaeological expedition brings back to London the coffin of an Egyptian queen known for her magical powers. Her spirit returns in the form of a young girl and strange things start to ... See full summary »
Young Carmilla is jealous of her friend's engagement, and her obsession leads her to the tomb of a female vampire. The vampire possesses her and leads her to kill and terrorise the ... See full summary »
In 1830, forty years to the day since the last manifestation of their dreaded vampirism, the Karnstein heirs use the blood of an innocent to bring forth the evil that is the beautiful ... See full summary »
While the title hadn't struck me as being familiar when I read Michael Elliott's positive review here, I later found out that it was in fact listed - albeit meriting only a single sentence! - in "Horror Films", a compendium of the genre written by Alan Frank and which basically served as my introduction to many horror classics as a child.
As Michael has said, the script (co-written by Leigh Brackett, future collaborator of the great Howard Hawks) is unusually literate for a low-budget horror film of the Forties, suggesting that its main influence may have been the Val Lewton horror cycle being made contemporaneously at RKO; though it never quite achieves their level of quality, it was a very pleasant surprise and it ought to be better known and, more importantly, seen (alas, given its virtually non-existent reputation and the fact that it's a Republic production, whose catalogue has recently been acquired by Paramount, its official release on DVD anytime soon seems a highly unlikely prospect...though I would love to be proved wrong).
Anyway, the combination of vampirism and voodoo is an intriguing one - though we don't really see much of either. The largely unknown cast responds remarkably well to the fanciful proceedings (which offer some new and interesting variations on the standard vampire lore) - but it's John Abbott as Fallon, the world-weary and rather sympathetic bloodsucker who obviously steals the show. The film features a number of effective sequences during its brief (a mere 59 minutes!) but thoroughly engaging running time: a booby-trap shotgun is fired and the bullet goes right through Abbott (shades of SON OF Dracula ) and lodges itself in the arm of one of the natives; only the vampire's clothes are reflected in a mirror (an effect borrowed from Universal's Invisible Man films) and when he looks at it, the mirror shatters of its own accord; the vampire attacks which mainly rely on Abbott's uneasy glare for their impact; the climax set in an ancient temple.
Looking at Lesley Selander's busy filmography (but whose work I had never seen before now), I'm left with the assumption that he was one of the innumerable unassuming journeyman directors who specialized in B-movies and Westerns in particular (at least 6 of his films are called "Fort Something Or Other"!); as a matter of fact, he inserts the obligatory poker game, followed by a bar-room brawl, even in THE VAMPIRE'S GHOST - having made Abbott the unlikely proprietor of a tavern (albeit using this identity merely as a cover for his true and sinister self). Still, given my enthusiastic reaction to the latter, I'm willing to give his FORT ALGIERS (1953; which has been available for some time at my local DVD outlet, without generating much interest to me personally) a chance - even if I'm pretty sure it won't be anywhere near as satisfying...
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