Friday, October 21, 2016

THE RETURN OF DRACULA (#Olive Blu-ray) - How Dracula Got His Cape Back... NOT

When I think of 50's vamp flicks I most certainly do not put first in my mind visions of suburban America with a fella with slick hair playing fanger to a bunch of Californians. Strangely enough that's what The Return of Dracula is. It's about as far removed from the Gothic gorgeous of Hammer's The Horror of Dracula released the same year. The Return does not feature Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing. It is in black and white. It is bloodless. The cape? Well... despite my clever title for this review, there really isn't a cape to be found. Instead we get a beady-eyed vamp with a black coat attacking folks in much the same way that an ordinary murderer might.

For purists this is no vampire movie. This certainly does not feel like a Dracula picture. Even movies that attempt to modernize the Dracula tale include elements of the Dracula lore and mythology. Sure you can thwart him with a cross or a stake through the heart, but think of Dracula 72AD or even Blacula or Dracula 2000. These movies feel like Drac movies with a vampire that looks like Dracula played by a prominent actor who gives the character respect even if the story line decimates the story. Let's call The Return of Dracula what it is. It's a modern day vampire movie at best. Look Who's Coming to Dinner... Vampire Edition. That's your warning. This vamp has a bad accent. He dresses badly in street clothes alone rather than traditional cape and necklace.

The Blu-ray from Olive is actually quite nice. The image on screen is sharp and the transfer looks good. I admit that this is my first time experiencing The Return of Dracula, but I'm glad to know what it isn't just as much as I'm glad to know someone has preserved a piece of 50's fang film. As with most Olive releases you don't get any extras, but you do get a nice looking release. You get traditional cover art that is enticing (I adore the eyes on this cover art).

I'll offer you redeeming qualites. Keep an eye out for the kid in the Halloween mask. It's a truly great mask from the period. Also, listen carefully to what I imagine is library music of the period that bares resemblance to one of the themes from The Shining.

Order your copy of Return of Dracula now:

From Olive:

For those who like their vampires with that certain European panache, The Return of Dracula is sure to thrill. Francis Lederer (Terror is a Man) stars as the titular Count – this time using the pseudonym Bellac Gordal – as he travels from his Transylvania home to the United States. In the guise of being a distant relative on vacation, The Count takes up residence at the home of the Mayberry family in sunny California. Quicker than you can say “I like my stake rare,” The Count … er … Gordal is up to his old nocturnal tricks and comes under the scrutiny of young Rachel Mayberry (Norma Eberhardt, Problem Girls) whom Gordal has set his sights on, which may be her undoing. The Return of Dracula, directed by Paul Landres (The Vampire) from Pat Fiedler’s script, co-stars Ray Stricklyn (The Lost World), Virginia Vincent (The Hills Have Eyes), John Wengraf (The Pride and the Passion), Gage Clarke (The Bad Seed), Jimmy Baird (The Black Orchid) and Greta Granstedt (They Never Come Back).

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