THE VAMPIRE (1957). Directed by Paul Landres.
A small town doctor (John Beal) with a young daughter accidentally ingests some pills created by a dead scientist and reverts into a strange creature that attacks and kills several neighbors. Although he leaves two bite marks on the neck, he is not a vampire in the usual sense, but causes capillary breakdown or something along those lines which causes the bodies of the victims to eventually disintegrate. With its nice-guy-turns-into-tormented-monster theme, the film is along the lines of Neanderthal Man and Monster on the Campus. There’s a skeleton with eyeballs intact that pre-dates a similar bit in 1959's Caltiki. The make up is a little too comical at times, but otherwise effective. The performances from Kenneth Tobey as a cop and Coleen Gray as a nurse-receptionist are solid, but the stand-out is John Beal, who gives a very good and sensitive performance as the haunted, horrified (and horrifying) doctor. The always reliable Dabbs Greer is also good as a colleague – and late victim – of Beal’s. Pretty standard and without much style or atmosphere, but it holds the attention and has several exciting sequences. Gerald Fried's musical score is a plus.
Verdict: Worth a look. **1/2.