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The Vampire's Ghost

USA 1945
produced by
Republic
directed by Lesley Selander
starring John Abbott, Charles Gordon, Peggy Stewart, Grant Withers, Emmett Vogan, Adele Mara, Roy Barcroft, Martin Wilkins, Frank Jaquet, Jimmy Aubrey, Zack Williams, Arlyn Roberts
story by Leigh Brackett, screenplay by John K. Butler, Leigh Brackett, musical direction by Richard Cherwin

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A small village, deep in the heart of Africa, is plagued by a series of killings that would suggest vampiric origin - superstitions that the (white) establishment of the village laughs off of course. So Roy (Charles Gordon), right-hand man of Vance (Emmett Vogan), who runs most of the local plantations, embarks on an expedition to some local tribe suspected of involvement into the crimes. He is accompanied by Fallon (John Abbott), a local barowner who knows more about the jungle and its tribes than anyone, and he seems to be a tiny bit sinister, to say the least, so much so that the natives suspect him to be a vampire.

Needless to say, the natives are totally right, Fallon is a vampire, but when they try to kill him with a spear dipped in silver, he is saved by Roy, who finds out his secret along the way though, so Fallon puts him under his hypnotic command.

Eventually, Roy returns home struck by some jungle fever, and Vance's daughter Julie (Peggy Stewart) nurses him back to health - without any success, because she is aided by Fallon, who keeps Roy under tight hypnotic control so he can't spill his secret. Also, Fallon has fallen in love with Julie and wants to make her his companion ...

Eventually, the natives plan an uprising and want to have their revenge on Fallon, so Vance, who is still convinced of Fallon's innocence, suggests that he leaves the region for a month or so, just until things quiet down. Fallon is quick to agree - but what Vance doesn't know is that Fallon plans to put Julie under his hypnotic spell and take her with him.

Meanwhile, Roy receives a visit from Father Gilchrist (Grant Withers), and of course it takes a man of the cloth to break Fallon's spell over Roy. By then though, Julie is long gone with Fallon, and now Roy, the priest, and Vance take up pursuit, finally tracking them down to a temple to an evil deity where Fallon wants to perform his blood wedding to Julie - but our heroes interfere just in time, free Julie, injure Fallon with a spear dipped in silver, then burn down his temple - and him with it of course ...

 

A cheap jungle-set vampire picture that leaves a lot to be desired no matter how you look at it: The story is silly and riddled with plotholes, the jungle sets are limited and hardly convincing, almost no advantage is made of the exotic settings (probably because the film was studio-set), and the direction is purely functional and suspense- and atmosphere-free.

Still, the film has a certain chrm to it, a charm that it shares with many other under-budgeted shockers of its time that has to do with the devil-may-care-approach to its subject matter, its unapologetic use of pulp mainstays, and its unpretentious execution. All of this makes The Vampire's Ghost anything but a genre classic, but fun to watch nevertheless ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD