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Robert S. Baker,
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A man and wife are terrorized by Mad Scientist Dr. Callistratus who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant. Along with his crippled assistant Carl, the 'anemic' Mad Scientist, believed to be a vampire, conducts blood deficiency research on the inmates of a prison hospital for the criminally insane to sustain his return to life. Written by
Blood of the Vampire is one of those films that suggests it is more than it is. There is no vampire in the film, and there were only two references to vampires at all in the entire film. The film is a story of a doctor who tries revolutionary surgery on a dying patient only to end up as a visitor(prisoner) at a remote castle-prison run by a wicked scientist-warden and some of the most depraved prison guards around. The warden is played by none other than heavy Sir Donald Wolfit in full regalia as a thick slice of ham. Wolfit is a pleasure to watch as he barks out orders and sadistic lines to his lazy-eyed hunchback assistant and other minions about the prison. It seems he needs a scientist to help him with a blood disease he has. Victor Ball does a credible job as the good-natured prisoner. Lovely Barbara Shelley plays his love-interest. Miss Shelley looks simply wonderful. I was fortunate to meet Miss Shelley recently, and she told me that the film The Dresser was based on the life of Sir Donald Wolfit. It isn't hard to believe after watching this film. The man has an enormous presence about him. He really blows into existence what little life this film has. The film has a Hammer look to it, although not nearly as well-made. The budget for this film was apparently limited. The gothic look is, however, pretty genuine. I particularly liked the castle used. The pace of the film would be viewed by many as plodding. I rather enjoyed it...campness and all. A good old-fashioned horror tale!
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