Monday, November 11, 2019

Blood of Dracula (1957)

Who's in it?: Sandra Harrison (an episode of Adventures of Superman), Louise Lewis (a different episode of Adventures of Superman, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, The Vampire), and Gail Ganley (sadly not in any episodes of Adventures of Superman).

What's it about?: A teenage girl (Harrison) attends a boarding school where her anger issues are exploited by a science teacher (Lewis) who wants to turn her into a bloodsucking vampire. You know, for science. Ganley plays a fellow student who's also the teacher's aide/lackey.

How is it?: First up, this is not actually a Dracula movie. It's a sequel to neither the novel nor another Dracula film, though I think I can make it one in my imagination.

I don't know why it wasn't officially titled I Was a Teenage Vampire when it was made by the same people who did I Was a Teenage Werewolf and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein. It also has the same tone as those and really the same basic plot as I Was a Teenage Werewolf. The Blood of Dracula title seems intentionally misleading, especially when the only mention of Dracula is plural and as a synonym for all vampires. The line basically goes, "What if the murders were committed by vampires... you know, Draculas?"

As hilariously ridiculous as that is (and it's not the only hilariously ridiculous thing... hello, vampire makeup), and as disappointing as it is to see someone hypnotized into becoming a vampire instead of becoming one the usual way, I like the boarding school setting and the '50s teen shenanigans (secret "initiations" that are just parties where girls dance to records; midnight scavenger hunts, etc.).

I also like how the hypnosis for the vampire transformation is aided by an ancient amulet from the Carpathian mountains. If I want to work at it, I can imagine a backstory that does somehow involve the actual Dracula. Perhaps the amulet belonged to him and has become corrupted by his evil. Or perhaps it was somehow instrumental in his own transformation from Transylvanian count to undead bloodsucker. Whatever it is, I believe that it's the amulet's power and not Miss Branding's skill at mesmerism that actually transforms poor Nancy Perkins.

Rating: Three out of five vampire Nancys.

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