In the vast horror cinema, there’re likely over 30-subgenres with films crisscrossing and crossover these genres, however there are two that often find themselves overlooked primarily due to their obscurity; namely those are lost films, such as The Redeemer: Son of Satan [1978] and Anglo-horror. The second named group might seem very foreign to many, and if it has allowed me a moment to explain it further, first most of the movies this group existed from late 50s to late 70s, and fell normally into Gothic-European, and sometimes implied religious-moral values. Therefore, these movies were primarily produced in England, and while a few did exist before that of the late 50s, it reached its height of popularity thanks Hammer Films, namely with The Curse of Frankenstein [1957] and Horror of Dracula [1958]. Enhancing from ‘Anglo’ namely European the films centered on the lushness of the 19th-century, though the films later began to have more contemporary settings, it was the richness of the gothic surroundings that worked on achieving wider audience appeal, as some of the censorship walls started to tumble. This led to other studios such as Amicus and Tigon to enter int this breach and exploit the European culture and superiority complexes, upheld by false morals and hidden hypocrisy, such as those found in Hands of the Ripper [1971]. Since this film was for the longest time, regarded as a lost film, and to that extended highly unavailable, with a very limited release onto to video in the early 1980s, before quickly ceasing a distribution run, then obtaining a wider release with a DVD in 2005, existing in faint memories and general obscurity. Director Henry Cass (The Hand [1960])) with the script from highly talented Jimmy Sangster who crafted such classics as Horror of Dracula [1958] and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo [1972], conjured it concept from a story idea of his.

Blood of the Vampire actually opens with a scene before the pre-credits scrawl on the screen, which involves grave workers of the customary 19th-century European cemetery, who use an extra-long stake to pin a body to the ground, without having to enter the grave itself. Its extension of folklore to keep the vampire fastened to the holy consecrated earth, for all eternity. That’s when a hunchback (Donald Wolfit) who appears as if the makeup team stride uncovers the grave, removing the stake and retrieving the body. The plot transitions several years of passage with Dr. John Pierre (Vincent Bell) on trial for the crime of malpractice, namely using an unorthodox manner of a blood transfusion to preserve a patient’s life. A medical procedure considers by the then medical world as fantasy, in fact in reality the blood-typing was met with racial and moral objections up to the 1960s; truly show the element of sci-fi meeting real-life. His case turns against when arguing that his techniques are endorse by his mentor and the highly respected Dr. Meinster, a letter states he’s never heard of Pierre. Hence, ‘the wrongly convicted man is sentenced to prison ‘for life however not for long, as transferred to an asylum. Of course, there’s the typical character of Wetzler (Andrew Faulds (The Crawling Eye [1958])), as a brutal commander of the guards who place John in a horrendous cell with another prisoner Kurt Urach, it is here we learn more insight concerning the pit of doom that as befallen the newest prisoner. Pierre soon finds himself led to a laboratory and meets first hunchback Carl (Victor Maddern (Psycho-Circus [1966])), which likely won’t surprise anyone, and then the asylum’s doctor Callistratus, who’s engaging in a secretive experimentation which is dwindling the population at this prison. However, this doctor, thoroughly believes in John’s theories of blood transfusions, and wants him as an assistant, and with it comes with some freedoms. The research leads the understanding there’re many different types of blood, and hence a deeper meaning for the medical world. Meanwhile Madeleine (Barbara Shelley (Quatermass and the Pit [1967])), John’s fiancée hurries to see Meinster (Henri Vidon (The Giant Behemoth [1959])) to learn he never disavowed John, nor wrote the letter in question. theory without haste venture to the to see the Commissioner of Prisons (Colin Tapley) explain the matter of fraud and wrongful conviction, he has his assistant, Auron (Bryon Coleman) look into the matters, unfortunately he has strong allegiance to Callistratus to feed his devious designs on the women prisoners. Of course, the viewers clearly know that there’ll be a possible Pierre’s death and Madeline wants the truth and needs to confront a human vampire monster.

The medical exploration of vampires and the human monster form been the basis in many films, Thirst [1979]; Red Blooded American Girl [1990], and recently Aaron’s Blood [2016], so it’s still good to see these early concepts of forgotten treasures used knowingly or most likely unaware of these earlier creations. Overall, the film presents memorable offbeat characters although the best is Victor Maddern’s one-eyed hunchback, for all the evil and unscrupulous things he does, he still able to gain sympathy from the audience for cruelty and abuse inflicted upon him.

Some might consider the film as a remake to The Return of Doctor X [1939] but with more gothic overtones, however it sadly does nothing to rescue the film overall, as the title misleads in the direction. There’s no traditional vampire storyline though frankly the film is a tad ahead of its time, as it factors into human monsters and blood typing. The film’s odd experimental creations might seem very tame today, but for 1958 it was able to generate some shudder moments for some filmgoers all thanks to Sangster’s style.

IMDb Rating: 5.5710

Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10