“The Vampire” (1957)
A traditionally supernatural creature meets modern science in “The Vampire”, a by-the-numbers monster movie which can more comfortably (though it doesn’t elevate the quality of the production) viewed as a drug addiction cautionary tale, than an effective spook show, though even as a social parable, one might find “Bigger Than Life” preferable to this not quite mad doctor movie which is only slightly less silly than (though not as much fun as) “Reefer Madness”.
Dr. Paul Beecher (John Beal, in an admirably committed, sweaty performance which is foiled at every turn by the insipid dialogue of Pat Fiedler) attempts to reconcile a quiet life in a country town as the local doc- complete with cute as a button daughter Betsy (Lydia Reed) and a pretty as a peach nurse Carol (Coleen Gray) -after he has mistakenly swallowed a mind altering experimental drug for a migraine headache; a bit of medical sloppiness which might explain the complaints from his patients, though ignores the irony that these same possible malpractice filers also encompass the victim list resulting from his murderous nocturnal prowls. A virtual companion piece to Columbia’s 1956 “The Werewolf, itself a melding of Universal horror models with 1950’s SF, “The Vampire” expands the focus of the usual altruistic scientific researchers “playing God” and crippled with astonishingly unreliable foresight genre, by giving an almost unbearable attention to the victim of misapplied experimentation, resulting in characters vying with Lon Chaney. Jr.’s Lawrence Talbot for the title of the most relentlessly whiny homicidal stalker in the movies.
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