Blood of Dracula (1957)

Blood of Dracula (1957)

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This is a vampire, apparently.
This is a vampire, apparently.

Twitter Plot Summary: Despite what you might think from the title, this is nowhere near as good as you’re hoping it is.

Blood of Dracula opens with a car crash and a young woman being slapped in the face by her father. Then it immediately lapses into minutes of exposition that explains why that young woman, Nancy (Sandra Harrison), has been sequestered off to a women’s boarding school by her father and his recently married second wife, Nancy’s step-mother. For reasons that are not adequately explained, Nancy becomes an experimental subject who, through a strange amulet and a strong dose of hypnosis, is slowly turned into a vampire.

The film’s other title, Blood Is My Heritage, is frankly awful, and while the title Blood of Dracula may leave an audience expecting the famous bloodsucker to show up in some capacity, it is one that distracts you from how truly terrible this film really is. Let’s be honest, the only reason you’re here is because the title is moderately interesting, yes? The fact of the matter is that the dark prince himself has no part to play in this tale. Indeed, the only thing that links this film to Bram Stoker’s most famous creation is that one character becomes a vampire, and Dracula is named in the title. That’s it. Bearing in mind Hammer’s reimagining of the Dracula story was released just a year later, it’s abundantly clear which one is more deserving of your attention.

That's what you get if you're a teenage girl in the 1950s. A slap in the face.
That’s what you get if you’re a teenage girl in the 1950s. A slap in the face.

Blood of Dracula doesn’t just fail to hold a candle to Hammer’s fangtastic (sorry) effort, it’s a poor companion to even the hokiest of 50s B-movies. Much of the direction has that air of a televised live action play. The number of edits are limited so that each scene runs almost without any cuts, opting to dolly and pan across the room to follow the action rather than cutting in for a closeup. Suffice to say, performances are stilted and exactly as you might expect for a cheap horror film released in 1957. The other issue is that it’s not scary, not even by 1950s standards. Hell, not even by 1930s standards is it scary. As if that wasn’t enough, it degrades into a musical number at the halfway point – and it’s not even a good song either, mixing basic, inoffensive 50s pop rock with what sounds like a car horn being sounded.

What it boils down to are a group of women catfighting and getting on each other’s nerves, with a few random vampire-based deaths thrown in for good measure. Alongside the hokey acting and inexplicable plot there is an all too brief consideration of how women were treated in a world that was (and arguably still is) being run by men. No, this potentially intriguing idea gets one line and that’s it. Before you know it you’re back in the depths of bad exposition, some and a vampire makeup job that looks like a child has been let loose on the makeup box. There are many films out there where the title is the only good thing about it, and Blood of Dracula is just one of them.

Score: 1/5

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