Its 7:49 pm
Its been a while since we have had some fun with a old classic black & white film outside of our recent “Thin Man” reviews. Lucky for us,the Dollar Tree just had (again!) another sale and I went to take a look. The pickings were pretty “meh” this time around but I did find a Midnite Movie double feature put out by MGM Studios.
These releases highlight some of the better known B movies from the 1950s and 1960s and the double feature format is a plus as well. Of course getting my copy for a mere dollar is a added bonus. This is just another reason why we love the Dollar Tree sales,even if they are “meh”.
The film opens up with a young boy dropping off a live animal at a old creepy looking house,the boy enters only to find the scientist there,Dr. Campbell,in bad shape. He urges the boy to get Dr.Paul Beecher (John Beal) and the boy races to get help.
Paul knows Campbell and he enters the house which is full of animals,he starts to treat Campbell who says the secrets are in a bottle of pills and then his heart gives out and he dies. Paul puts the pills in his jacket and calls for an hearse.
We then see Paul have an interaction with his police friend Buck Donelly (Kenneth Tobey) before heading back to his office where he is seeing patients. His new nurse Carol (Coleen Gray) comes into his office,Paul asks her to hold the patients off for a few minutes,he has a headache. When Paul’s daughter,Betsy comes in to see her dad,he asks her to give a pill for his migrane headache,of course she accidently gives him the wrong pill.
He starts to see one of his patients,Marion Wilkins but he starts feeling ill and asks her to come back the next morning and she agrees. The next morning Paul feels great but when Marian’s maids for help,he dashes over. He starts treating Marian but when she sees Paul,she starts screaming at him to go away and her heart as well gives out and she dies. Paul notices two small puncture marks on Marian’s neck but doesn’t think anything of it.
Buck shows up and is a wee bit alarmed because two deaths in two days in a small town is a bit nerve racking. Paul assures him that Marian had a weak heart and there was no foul play,he then leaves to go to Campbell’s labs to find out more about those pills he got. He meets his good friend Dr. Will Beaumont (Dabbs Greer) and his weird assistant Henry. While Beaumont isn’t quite sure of Campbell’s research,he knows enough that those pills are highly addictive and they composed of blood cells taken from vampire bats which are the only animals left alive in the lab.
Paul knows something is terribly and horribly wrong and he is powerless to stop the need to take the pills and drink human blood….is there a way out for the good Doctor?
Wow….this was a far above average horror film and especially for the 1950s. Despite growing in a town where these black and white films were always being shown,I never once watched “The Vampire”. One can’t but be really saddened by the story and how a good man with a noble job and is a loving father doesn’t get a happy ending.
Paul Beecher is completely faultless here and Beale (pardon the pun) really sinks his teeth in the role,watching his quiet confidence slowly give away to the horror raging in his veins and knowing his own little girl could become a victim….just haunting.
“The Vampire” had a stellar cast for such a small B movie. Rugged Kenneth Tobey was a staple in many sci-fi films and Dabbs Greer was in anything and everything on TV. You may remember him as James Ryan in “Saving Private Ryan”. What caught my eye was who produced “The Vampire”…Arthur Gardner and Jules V. Levy who would go on to do the classic “The Rifleman”.
This is a very good film and I’m quite happy to have it,the picture quality is perfect and the score is ominius as well,this is a little film that will stick with you for a while.
“The Vampire” has a run time of 76 minutes and should be considered a PG-13 rating.
There are no special features.
The cheetah and I gave “The Vampire” two bags of O negative blood.
Are you a fan of classic 1950s-60s movies? Drop a comment below!