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The Return of the Vampire

USA 1944
produced by
Sam White for Columbia
directed by Lew Landers
starring Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch, Miles Mander, Roland Varno, Matt Willis, William Austin, Jeanne Bates, Billy Bevan, Sydney Chatton, Donald Dewar, Leslie Denison, Gilbert Emery, Olaf Hytten, Ottola Nesmith, Nelson Leigh, George McKay, Harold De Becker
story idea by Kurt Neumann, screenplay by Griffin Jay, additional dialogue by Randall Faye, music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, special effects by Aaron Nibley

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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London: Back in 1918, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and professor Saunders (Gilbert Emery) have staked vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) and freed his werewolf servant Andreas (Matt Willis) from his curse.

Now the second World War is on, and London is under almost constant attack by German bomberplanes. Lady Jane is still cruzading against vampirism, with Andreas being her most loyal companion after Saunders' death, but exactly this is what gets her into trouble with the law, as Scotland Yard's Sir Frederick (Miles Mander) wants to reexamine the death of Armand Tesla, which could be considered cold-blooded murder. However, another German attack puts an end to Sir Frederick's plans, as the cemetary on which Tesla is buried is hit, and two gravediggers, thinking to do the right thing, remove the stake from Tesla's body when they find his coffin open - with the expected consequences.

Tesla soon makes Andreas his slave again, and he gets access to Lady Jane's estate by posing as a German scientist she herself has helped to free from Germany, and he soon starts to suck Nicki (Nina Foch), professor Saunders' daughter and the fiancee of Lady Jane's son (Roland Varno) dry, as well as killing other people in the neighbourhood. Sir Frederick of Scotland Yard is baffled by all of this, but Lady Jane is quick to put two and two together and figure who's the villain of the piece. But knowing Tesla's a vampire is one thing, doing something against it is something completely different.

Ultimately, Lady Jane sees no other way to track down the vampire than to use Nicki as bait - which turns out to be a less than perfect plan when she loses Nicki out of her sight. But not all is well when she arrives at Tesla's hideout either, because he soon gets into a fight with Andreas and tries to kill him - but only manages to lose his hypnotic power over him. When Tesla's just about to suck Nicki dry though, a German bomber bombs the place he's hiding out at, and when Tesla comes to, he finds himself not only be threatened by daylight, but also by Andreas, who has picked up a stake and uses it on Tesla just before he breathes his last. Only Nicki is saved.

 

Not exactly a great film, as it wades way too deeply in vampire clichés - though the World War II backdrop is a pleasent change -, features a silly-looking werewolf and a few too many plotholes, Return of the Vampire is nevertheless a likeable movie, thanks to a subtle, atmospheric directorial effort, a script that by and large stays away from silliness, a competent ensemble cast, and of course, a great, subtle vampire performance by Bela Lugosi. As mentioned before, maybe not a great film, but as far as vintage horrors go, pretty good nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

Amazon

Amazon UK

Vimeo

 

 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
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
Amazon!!!