Film Reviews:

Blood of Dracula

(Herbert L. Strock, US, 1957)

Once Sandra Harrison's parents have taken all they can from their crazy, juvenile delinquent daughter they decide to drive 300 miles to place her in the care of the Red Hills Preparatory School. But, little did they expect the chemistry teacher to be such a bad influence on their girl that she would become a vampire! Young Sandra gets suspicious of the tutor when Miss Brasking (Louise Lewis) shows her a thesis she has written about 'the power within' each person. A few visits later and she shows our heroine an amulet that she purchased from an antique shop. With research she discovered that the amulet came from the Carpathian mountains and, just to be sure, the chemistry teacher travelled there to get verification! It isn't too long (the film only runs for 68 minutes) before the amulet is used to hypnotise the girl into a wild she-beast that murders other pupils.

The laborious build-up to the creature début is hard to sit through, despite the 'groovy' late 50's dialogue offering some chuckles to viewers today. This AIP potboiler achieves very little that dozens of carbon copies did around the same period. The minimal vampire make-up could be mistaken for a she-wolf, especially those extended eyebrows! The youngsters, being what youngsters are, decide to have a 'wild' party in the girls dormitory. As the (three) boys climb in through the window, on goes the record player... at a barely audible level! Suddenly, in amongst the tight sweaters and innocent conversation (wild man, wild!) the film seems to pass through an inexplicable genre-zone as everything stops and it turns into a musical for two minutes. The male gate-crashers begin singing 'Puppy Love' and the synchronised dancing begins. Whoa! But before things can get any more out of hand, Miss Brasking hears the music and puts a stop to their fun. "In her eyes... DESIRE! In her veins... the blood of a MONSTER!" Yeah, right. Gimme a break.

Rob Dyer