Dr. Matthew Campbell has been experimenting on methods to regress the mind to primitive instincts so that we can find methods to improve our brains and not get taken in by cheap horror movie hogwash. He's developed a drug made from vampire bat blood and has begun treating himself with it. But instead of improving his mind, he's become ill and addicted. He dies, but not before trying to warn fellow doctor Paul Beecher. Fortunately for us, he dies before he can say more than that pills are to blame. While still at Campbell's house, Paul finds a bottle of pills and pockets them. He's also got another bottle of pills in his other pocket that he takes for frequent migraine attacks. He goes home, puts his jacket on a rack, and then he's struck with a migraine. He asks his daughter to give him the pills in his jacket pocket, and of course she gives him the pills of evil. He is instantly addicted and he must take one pill every day. Each time he takes a pill he turns into a hairy and very ...Written by
Italian censorship visa # 29025 delivered on 27 April 1959. See more »
When the boy enters the doctor's house in the first scene, the doorknob changes. The exterior clearly doesn't match the interior. See more »
Buck, you can't go around diggin' up people's graves. To get a court order you got to have some good reason.
Sheriff Buck Donnelly:
I got plenty of reasons, Willy. Three deaths in three days.
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Dr. Campbell is a sick man. Just before he dies, he gives a bottle of tablets to Dr. Paul Beecher (Paul Beal). Quite by accident, Paul takes one of the pills thinking it's his migraine medication. The pills were part of Dr. Campbell's work on mind regression to a more primitive state and were made from the blood of the vampire bat. Paul immediately becomes addicted to the pills and begins taking one each night. Coinciding with Paul addiction, people in town begin dying mystery deaths. Each has strange bite marks on their necks. Paul begins to suspect himself, but surely Paul's suspicions can't be true. Are the pills turning him into some kind of vampire?
While I don't think it's quite as good as his later film The Return of Dracula, Paul Landres' The Vampire is still a solid little horror film that takes much of the existing vampire mythology and stands it on its head. For example, the creature in The Vampire isn't the suave, cape-wearing, seducer that we've all become familiar with over the years. Here, the creature is a primitive being that seeks blood for survival. It is more bat-like in appearance and action. I'm not saying that one interpretation is better than the other, I just appreciate the difference.
There's a lot to like about The Vampire. I love the way the film introduces an element of horror into an otherwise safe and comfortable Leave It to Beaver type setting. The contrast is interesting. And I for one appreciate the make-up effects. I realize they were done "on the cheap", but I found them very eerie. Landres direction is solid. He keeps things interesting without a lapse during the movies runtime. But the area I find the most enjoyable in The Vampire is the acting. Everyone involved gives a performance far better than you would expect from a film of this type. As others have noted, Paul Beal gives real outstanding first-rate performance.
Overall, The Vampire is a very satisfying film. I look forward to revisiting it for years to come.
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