The Vampire Reviews
A small town doctor experiments with pills made from vampire bats as a way to extend life. The pills slowly turn him into a blood thirsty monster that kills and mutilates people. Initially, the doctor wants to help capture the culprit, but he quickly uncovers the killer might be him. Can he reverse the side effects or will he have to be destroyed to stop the crimes?
"Bob's pet store. If it's alive, we've got it."
Paul Landres, director of The Lone Ranger (1949), The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Cisco Kid, Son of a Gun Fighter, and Johnny Rocco, delivers The Vampire. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward, and a bit predictable, but the plot is interesting and the make up at the end is very well done. The acting is fairly mediocre and the cast includes John Beal, Coleen Gray, Kenneth Tobey, and James Griffith.
"How is she?"
I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) during this Halloween season (I love their old classic horror pictures). This film was a bit clichť and classic 50's campy. Yes, this film has some cheese, and probably isn't worth your time, but the end is very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the last scene. Overall, I'd probably skip this movie and wouldn't watch it again, but if you like films from this time period, you may enjoy this film.
"I killed her."
A youth on a bicycle delivers a package to the laboratory of Dr. Matt Campbell in the researcher‚??s old house in a quiet, sleepy, little American town. The youth enters to find Campbell with his head down on his desk. Campbell (television actor Wood Romoff ) asks the youth to fetch Dr. John Beecher (John Beal of ‚??Edge of Darkness‚??), a friendly, rustic doctor with a young daughter, to see him. Beecher is an old-fashioned physician who still makes house calls when his patients cannot visit him. The boy alerts Dr. Beecher about Campbell, and Beecher arrives in time to hear Campbell mention something about his obscure research. Campbell raves about making an important breakthrough. Before Campbell dies, the doomed researcher hands Dr. Beecher a bottle of pills without a label. Campbell croaks, and Beecher believes the researcher‚??s bad heart caused his death. He shoves the pills into his suit pocket. Later, Beecher suffers the onset of a migraine. He asks his pretty daughter Betsy (Lydia Reed of ‚??High Society‚??) to give him his migraine tablets. Beecher gobbles the prescription medicine without a second thought. He is diagnosing a patient‚??s condition when he feels nauseous and has to lie down. The patient, Marion Wilkins (Ann Staunton of ‚??Daisy Kenyon‚??), has a heart condition, too, and she lives alone in town. Marion is too sick to come in for her morning appointment and Marion‚??s cleaning lady phones up Beecher. When our protagonist arrives, he finds Marion near death. He spots two puncture holes in her neck and she realizes who he is, reacts with surprise and fear and dies. At this point, director Paul Landres and scenarist Pat Fielder have set up an interesting predicament. People are dying from a maniac on the loose, and the good doctor might have something to do with it.
Beecher is pleasantly surprised when he learns that one of his oldest friends from medical school, Dr. Will Beaumont (veteran character actor Dabbs Greer of ‚??Trouble Along the Way ‚??) who works at a nearby university, was subsiding Campbell‚??s research. According to Beaumont, Campbell was working on regression to see whether it was possible chemically to revert the animal mind to a primitive state. If this is the case, Winston explains to Beecher, researchers will know if they can reverse the process and advance the intellect. Will rummages through Campbell‚??s cabinets and finds a pill bottle that contains medication designed ‚??to induce primitive instincts by draining the blood from the brain temporarily. He adds that the pills are habit-forming. Beaumont brings in another scientist, Henry Winston (James Griffiths of ‚??Tribute to a Bad Man‚??), to come up to speed on Campbell‚??s research. Winston discovers that the pills were a control serum extracted from the bats. He doesn‚??t live long after he makes this discovery because an intruder with large hands breaks into the laboratory and murders him. Naturally, the police investigate and Sheriff Buck Donnelly (Kenneth Toby of ‚??The Thing from Another World‚??) wants to know about the insect bites on the dead man‚??s neck because he saw similar bites on Marion Wilkins‚?? neck. When Beecher confronts Beaumont about Henry‚??s death, Beaumont makes the revelation that the bats used in Campbell‚??s experimentation were vampire bats!
The suspense heightens marginally when Donnelly learns Winston died of capillary disintegration, and Sheriff Donnelly wants to exhume Marion Wilkins‚?? body to determine if she died from the same cause. Naturally, mortician Willy Warner (Paul Brinegar of ‚??High Plains Drifter‚??) is appalled that Donnelly plans to dig up Marion‚??s corpse. The medical examiner is just as appalled by the findings of the university analysis. According to the university officials, all three victims died from capillary disintegration. Meantime, Beecher has developed a craving for Campbell‚??s pills. He has killed two people and fears he may kill more. He confesses to Dr. Beaumont that he killed Marion Wilkins, but Beaumont refuses to believe him. Beecher convinces Beaumont to watch him because he thinks that he will undergo the transformation at 11 PM. Beaumont doesn‚??t believes Beecher‚??s story until it is too late for him to do anything. He watches in stunned disbelief when Beecher transformed in front of him and then kills him. Later, Beecher tries to kill himself, but his nurse Carol Butler (Coleen Gray of ‚??Red River‚??) attempts to intervene and reason with him. Again, Beecher transforms into a maniac. He attacks Carol in his office. Buck shows up with Police Sergeant George Ryan (Herb Vigran of ‚??Public Pigeon No. One‚??) and they storm the doctor‚??s house. Buck winds up shooting Beecher. As it lies sprawled on the ground, Beecher gradually changes back into him.
John Beal stars in this surprisingly well acted, moderately scripted, camp-fest with some of the worst special effects in the history of Hollywood. I defy anyone not to laugh the first time they see 'the vampire' in full makeup. Could they not afford the extra thirty cents for some plastic fangs?