Friday, October 04, 2013
31 Werewolves | The Return of the Vampire
Some folks apparently consider 1944's The Return of the Vampire to be an unofficial sequel to Universal's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi in 1931. They argue that Lugosi is playing Dracula again in all but name (his name in Return of the Vampire is Armand Tesla) and that it's only because the movie was produced by Columbia, not Universal, that it's not a legitimate sequel.
But there are several plot differences that keep Return of the Vampire separate from Dracula, in addition to the title character's name. First of all, Tesla's enemies don't have any direct analogues to characters from Dracula. I suppose it's possible to draw comparisons between Dracula's Mina and Ven Helsing and Return's Lady Jane and Professor Saunders, but not without a lot of stretching. And there's no one to represent Jonathan Harker or Dr. Seward.
The difference that's important to this post though is the vampire's servant, a werewolf named Andreas who does Tesla's bidding and protects his coffin. This isn't a serious werewolf movie by any stretch (actor Matt Willis' makeup is more cute than frightening), but it goes to show how big a deal werewolves were beginning to be after the success of The Wolf Man. For another B-movie werewolf story from the same time, check out my review of 1942's The Mad Monster.