Sunday, January 24, 2016

Old School Horror: The Return of the Vampire

Not exactly a Sequel, but it really wants you to think it is!  Today's Film is The Return of the Vampire, a 1943 Vampire Film Starring Bela Lugosi (!) that is NOT a Dracula Film.  Well, he's not playing Dracula, but he is.  This one comes to us from Columbia Pictures and not Universal, hence the name change.  They find a rather different way to make the Title fit, so this isn't completely misdirection.  The intention is still clear here, however, so let's not shy away from it.  Bela himself wouldn't return to the role until 1948's Abbot & Costello Meet the Frankenstein, making this the awkward middle child of the 'series.'  The Film involves a different Vampire going on a killing spree, getting stopped and then coming back years later (in the year the Film was actually made).  He also has a Wolfman.  The Film is very casual about this, so I will be too, I guess.  Notably, the Film features a fairly-strong female heroine.  It is 1943, so good for you.  How good is the whole Film though?  To find out, read on...
A Wolfman!  Wow, that was fast.

He wakes up his Master to do some evil back in 1918.
I have to note how idyllic and silly this Family looks by today's standards.  The Son is asking if he can play a song on the Piano before he goes to bed!  If only!
 Fairly soon, the Wolfman is followed back to the Vampire's Tomb and the latter is slain.  It is only 15 minutes in, so I thought my Disc had skipped or something!
Cut to 1943 and the Nazi Bombing of London shakes free the Vampire's coffin.  Two blokes see a stake in his heart and think it is shrapnel, removing it.

Oddly, they don't die.  Go figure.
The Vampire returns (first showing Bela) and takes on the identity of a dead Scientist.  He wants to get back at the woman who killed him before.

Now, I guess she didn't see his face before.  Otherwise, how the hell does this Plot work?
He targets her Son's fiancee and later the Son himself.

Oddly, they imply that the girl attacked the Son...but then the Vampire later casually cops to doing it.  Weird, right?
The woman figures it all out and makes a play against the Vampire.  Kudos to the Film for this nice bit of imagery.  Since it is only 1943, it isn't nearly so cliche to boot!
In an interesting turn, the Wolfman- who was freed when the Vampire was killed and then re-enslaved- does the final deed, dragging the Vampire out and staking him.
As Not Dracula melts, I should note that the Bombing inadvertently aids the deed.  Bonus credit to the Nazis!

Oh...The End.
Fun, old school stuff.  What else can I say?  Bela is back- fun.  A Vampire and a Wolfman- fun.  A WWII-era Vampire Film- bonus.  All it needs now is the cliche shot of someone walking down the Stairs in a trance...
Next up, I continue to sort through the mixed 'bag' of Films.  It is probably going to involve Zombies, so heads up.  Stay tuned...

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