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Vampire, The (1957)

AKA's: Immer Bei Anbruch Der Nacht / Mark Of The Vampire / Vampiro, Il
It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn (working title)

Release date: 1957 USA
Running time: 75' (cover 75') - Source: VHS NTSC b/w
Rating: Germ.: 16; US: PG
Main Crew: Director: Paul Landres (Lone Texan 1959; The Return Of Dracula 1958)
Producer: Gramercy Pictures
Score: Gerald Fried
Writer: Pat Fielder
Director of photography: Jack MacKenzie


Summary: Dr. Paul Beecher (John Beal), a small-town doctor, attends to the death of Matthew Campbell (Wood Romoff), a scientist who was working on a project devoted to expanding man's intellect. When Beecher later gets a severe headache, his young daughter (Lydia Reed) accidentally gives him some pills the doctor had confiscated from the scientist's laboratory. After Beecher develops a chemical dependency for the drug, he slowly realizes that he is responsible for a series of bizarre murders in which all the victims' bodies were found drained of blood, committed while he was under the influence of these pills, and leaving him with no recollection of what he has done after the effects have worn off. Upon investigation, Beecher eventually learns that the pills he took were part of an experiment involving vampire bats...
Note: - Paul Landres admitted having learned a lot about directing from his experience at Universal in the 30s in editing the latter film.
- The film deals with vampirism in the scientific/medical sense rather than the fantastic side. It is a vampire film without crucifixes, garlic, coffins or anything classically associated with vampires - the vampire even walks around in daylight. Instead of having the bloodsucker portrayed as the standard well-dressed, intelligent, and graceful Dracula lookalike, "The Vampire" depicts him as a hairy, ugly, clumsy beast who ambles aimlessly after his targets. This makes it seem more of a parable about drug addiction than a story about vampirism, it is closer to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde than it is to Dracula.
- The film was shot in just six days for $ 115,000.

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