In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.
After Sir Karell Borotin is found dead in his study, drained of his blood, the local doctor determines that he was killed by a vampire. The coroner and police Inspector Neumann dismiss the suggestion but a year later, Sir Karell's daughter is attacked and bite marks are found on her throat. Neumann calls in the eminent Professor Zelin who thinks the story of vampires is true. The locals are convinced that Count Mora and his daughter Luna are the perpetrators of the crime, creatures of the night that can turn themselves into bats. There may be another solution however and the Professor sets a trap.Written by
The "bat thorn" used in this film to ward off vampires is a fictional plant, but is quite similar to wolf's bane (aka aconitum napellus), a real, highly-poisonous plant mentioned in Dracula (1931) and The Wolf Man (1941). See more »
Count Mora transforms from a bat into a man. If he is just an actor, he should not be able to do this. See more »
I'm sorry gentleman and lady, but it will be best for you to stay here tonight.
Ronnie - Englishman at Inn:
Come now, my good man. You can't frighten us. We've been over your foul roads before.
Please, you do not understand. It is not the road. It is the darkness. Here, our doors are protected with bat thorns.
What is with all this bat thorn business?
It keeps them out. They're afraid of it, the demons of the castle.
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A minor gem among classic horror films...clever ending...
All of the essential ingredients for a good vampire film are here, but I guessed who the culprit was from the beginning (and even his motive), but I wasn't prepared for the nice twist in the surprise ending.
The story about a vampire stalking people in a picturesque village is handsomely photographed by none other than James Wong Howe and the settings rival any of those used in the original "Dracula" film. This time ELIZABETH ALLAN is the frightened heroine while BELA LUGOSI and LIONEL ATWILL fill their standard horror film assignments in fine form.
LIONEL BARRYMORE is Prof. Zelin and seems to have great difficulty in standing on two feet rather than being in a wheel-chair, so early was he inflicted with his rheumatism that forced him to be seated in most of his films by the end of the '30s, notably as Dr. Gillespie in those Dr. Kildare films. He's obviously a replacement for the usual Van Helsing character assigned to solve the vampire mysteries.
With a running time of 1 hr. 1 min. there's no time to be bored. A neat little thriller with good supporting roles from character actors like Jessie Ralph and Donald Meek--with all of the histrionics strictly in broad '30s horror style. One of Tod Browning's better films.
The atmospheric sets and shadowy but crisp B&W photography are beyond reproach.
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