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The Vampire's Ghost (1945)

Passed  |   |  Horror  |  21 May 1945 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 179 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 5 critic

In a small African port, a tawdry bar is run by a old man named Webb Fallon. Fallon is actually a vampire, but he is becoming weary of his "life" of the past few hundred years.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Webb Fallon
Charles Gordon ...
Roy Hendrick
...
Julie Vance
Grant Withers ...
Father Gilchrist
Emmett Vogan ...
Thomas Vance
Adele Mara ...
Lisa
Roy Barcroft ...
Capt. Jim Barrett
Martin Wilkins ...
Simon Peter
Frank Jaquet ...
The Doctor
Jimmy Aubrey ...
The Bum
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Storyline

In a small African port, a tawdry bar is run by a old man named Webb Fallon. Fallon is actually a vampire, but he is becoming weary of his "life" of the past few hundred years.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Slave of the blood lust!!!

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

21 May 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Espectro do Vampiro  »

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 »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

"The Vampire's Ghost" was released by Republic on a double bill with "The Phantom Speaks." See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE VAMPIRE'S GHOST (Lesley Selander, 1945) ***
14 April 2006 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

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 [1943]) 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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