Blood of the Vampire – UK, 1958 – overview and reviews

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Blood of the Vampire is a 1958 British horror film directed by Henry Cass from a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster (The Curse of Frankenstein; et al).

Transylvania in the 19th century: A young doctor John Pierre (Vincent Ball) and his fiancee Madeleine Duval (Barbara Shelley) are terrorized by Doctor Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant.

Along with his mute and hunchback assistant Carl (Victor Maddern), the ‘anemic’ mad scientist, believed to be a vampire, conducts blood deficiency research on the inmates of a prison hospital for the criminally insane to sustain his return to life…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Director Henry Cass does a generally good job with the production, and although without any fancy touches, he lets the film tell itself. The production itself is very nice, with some impressive looking laboratory scenes, surprisingly realistic looking human organs in jars, and a plausibly grimy asylum, with rats scurrying around in the background.” Mondo Esoterica

“The film can be sluggish at times, but anyone who enjoys this sort of British goth will most likely find it absorbing enough. Sangster’s script does not have much at all to do with vampires (although an animated bat is suspiciously seen fleeing a coffin at the beginning) but more so with diseases of the blood, and he tosses in enough mad scientist and Frankensteinan elements to keep things lively.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

blood of the vampire DVD


“Besides Wolfit, the best reason to see this is Barbara Shelley, one of the most accomplished actresses to appear in Hammer Films, particularly Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966) and Quatermass and the Pit. She hasn’t much of a character, but ably endures many difficult scenes, being ravished and ogled by the bad guys.” Mark Hodgson, Black Hole Reviews

” …Blood of the Vampire is surprisingly unapologetic in its gruesomeness, considering how famously squeamish about such things producers Monty Berman and Robert S. Baker were. There may not be much here that will shock a modern audience, but in 1958— especially in England — Callistratus’s ghoulish experiments were pretty strong stuff.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting

Cast and characters:

  • Donald Wolfit as Doctor Callistratus
  • Barbara Shelley as Madeleine Duval
  • Vincent Ball as Doctor John Pierre
  • Victor Maddern as Carl
  • William Devlin as Kurt Urach
  • Andrew Faulds as Chief Guard Wetzler
  • John Le Mesurier as Judge
  • Bryan Coleman as Monsieur Auron
  • Max Brimmell as Warder
  • Cameron Hall as Drunken Doctor
  • George Murcell as First Guard
  • Julian Strange as Second Guard
  • Bruce Wightman as Third Guard
  • Barbara Burke as Housekeeper
  • Bernard Bresslaw as Tall Sneak Thief
  • Hal Osmond as Small Sneak Thief
  • Henri Vidon as Professor Bernhardt Meinster
  • John Stuart as Uncle Phillippe
  • Colin Tapley as Commissioner of Prisons
  • Denis Shaw as Blacksmith
  • Pat Phoenix as Woman [uncredited]







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