Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BLOOD OF DRACULA


BLOOD OF DRACULA (1957). Director: Herbert L. Strock.

Nancy Perkins (Sandra Harrison) is dumped at a girl’s school by her newly-widowed father (Thomas Browne Henry) so he can go off with his sexy new wife. She’s furious to be leaving behind her friends and steady beau, but there are worse things in store for her. One of her teachers, Miss Branding (Louise Lewis), is dismayed because her thesis keeps getting rejected. She’s convinced that it’s because she’s a woman but it’s just as likely that it’s because a.) she works at a small town girl’s school and is not exactly a professor at Harvard, and b.) her thesis states that there will be no need for A bombs once the deadly, explosive powers of human beings have been harvested (Yes) ! To prove this she needs a girl of angry temperament, and therefore hypnotizes Nancy. For inexplicable reasons, she apparently has Nancy murder a couple of her classmates and friends. There is no "Dracula" in the movie, nor even a mention of him (only of vampires in general), but Nancy transforms into a thick-lipped, shaggy-haired, fanged monstrosity who sucks blood in one of the most hilarious "horror" make-ups of all time. (It’s got to be seen to be believed.) The acting and lensing in the low-budget quickie isn’t bad, and neither is the premise, although Miss Branding’s "science" is below comic book level. Screenwriter Aben Kandel has some decent dialogue along with some clunkers but lots of intriguing stuff goes completely unexplored. It’s unlikely that anyone took this seriously, but in its limited way it’s kind of fun. There’s even a musical number, "Puppy Love," with a guy named Tab (Jerry Blaine).

Verdict: Dopey but amusing. **1/2.

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