Blood Of The Vampire (1958) starring Donald Wolfit, Vincent Ball, Barbara Shelley
Blood of the Vampire deals with a mad scientist, working as the governor of a prison. He uses the inmates as guinea pigs for his experiments …
In Blood of the Vampire, a mad scientist is mistaken for a vampire, staked through the heart, and buried. His faithful assistant Karl digs him up, and has him undergo a heart transplant, courtesy of a drunken doctor. Whom Karl kills afterward. The story then flashes forward, to where the mad scientist is working as the governor of a prison. A young doctor is wrongly convicted of manslaughter, and sent to that prison. Where the governor uses his skills in trying to identify the various blood types …
First, Blood of the Vampire is a misnomer. Although he looks like a cinematic vampire, the mad scientist isn’t. Although he is requiring regular blood transfusions to stay alive. And his prison has a high death rate, due to the experiments. And he is keeping a torture dungeon for the really bizarre experiments. Suspended animation, and artificial heart …. Poor Madeleine is taken there to “visit” towards the end of the movie.
Blood of the Vampire is an okay movie, neither great nor terrible.
Cast of characters
- Donald Wolfit (Lawrence of Arabia, Becket) … Callistratus. The titular mad scientist. His experiment on himself has caused a cellular degeneration problem.
- Vincent Ball (Where Eagles Dare) … John Pierre. Our protagonist.
- Barbara Shelley (Quartermass and the Pit, Village of the Damned) … Madeleine. After hearing of Pierre’s death in prison, she goes to work there as Callistratus’ house keeper. To her surprise, and joy, she discovers that Pierre is actually alive!
- Victor Maddern (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) … Carl. The deformed, faithful assistant. Mute, with a really bad makeup job. But, he sneaks the key to the dungeon to Pierre towards the end. He apparently has a crush on Madeleine. With his dying breath, he releases the dogs on Callistratus! Rest In Peace, Carl.
- William Devlin (Solomon and Sheba) … Kurt. Pierre’s friend in prison, who’s seemingly killed in a prison escape attempt. He’s actually made one of the human experiments, and dies stopping Callistratus, making Pierre and Madeleine’s escape possible..
- Andrew Faulds (Jason and the Argonauts, The Crawling Eye) … Wetzler. The mean chief prison guard.
- John Le Mesurier (City in the Sea) … Judge. He’s trying to correct the miscarriage of justice that sent Pierre to the prison.
- Bryan Coleman (Chaplin) … Auron. He’s been covering up Callistratus’ high death rate. And decides to rape Madeleine while he’s at the prison! He ends up in the dungeon of mad experiments. A fitting punishment, really.
- Cameron Hall … Drunken Doctor
Editorial review of Blood Of The Vampire courtesy of Amazon.com
1958. Horror directed by Henry Cass and starring Sir Donald Wolfit. In the late 19th Century, the anaemic Dr Callistratus is the governor of a brutal penal institution in a remote castle.