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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
Illogical and mistitled, but sheer fun...the one gem out of a thousand bad mad-scientist offerings
A lunatic doctor in 1874 Transylvania, thought to be a vampire and killed with a wooden stake through his heart, is given a new ticker and resurrected from the dead; after changing his identity, he is put in charge of a remote prison for the criminally insane, but finds he needs medical help after his antagonistic blood cells are at odds with each other. Enter Vincent Ball (who amusingly resembles Edward Norton!) as a young doctor railroaded into prison via tampered evidence, and Barbara Shelley as Ball's sweetheart who believes her fiancé is innocent. Amazing, unusual screenplay from the talented Jimmy Sangster and solid performances bolster this horror-movie-which-really-isn't. A prologue complete with vampire-hunters and bright red blood prepares us for the standard bloodsucker set-up, yet Sangster is more interested in the wronged victim than the so-called vampire, and the action inside the heavily-guarded jail is surprisingly suspenseful. Some of the violence is a bit timid or rushed through, such as when a sadistic guard lands on his own bayonet blade (either director Henry Cass or his editor skitter passed the gruesome incidents), and there are a few plot-holes which the writer leaves gaping. Otherwise, an efficient and enjoyable British-made thriller filmed in muted, gloomy Eastmancolor; not the 'shocker' advertised, but actually so much more. *** from ****
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