Blood of Dracula (1957)

It goes something like this:

The science teacher at an exclusive girls’ school has made an important discovery, one that the scientific establishment refuses to credit, a discovery that could power the world and make all weapons obsolete.

Now, if you haven’t guessed, this all has to do with the power of the mind, although, as you might expect, we never really learn too much about either her really important scientific theory or how it’s supposed to work.

But what she does need is a subject, a girl with certain qualities, someone who is angry and vengeful, and full of spirit. Exactly why this is so important, I’m not sure, but hey, we’re not misunderstood scientific geniuses, are we? Fortunately, the new girl at the school fit’s the bill and the experiment is on!

So far, we seem to be talking about yet another SF film with mental powers as the frontline of the science of the future. Until, that is, with a lot of talk about how powerful an ancient relic it is, the teacher pulls out a mysterious and ancient amulet — from the Carpathians.

You know, where Dracula came from?

This is a very hard film to pin down. It starts as a drama about an unhappy young girl sent off to a new school, morphs into schoolroom drama, takes a quick drive past scientific experiments, hypnosis, mind control, telepathy and, of course (drum roll please)…

Vampirism

Well, after all, with a title like Blood of Dracula, what do you expect?

Not that Dracula makes an actual appearance. Other than those vague hints about that medallion, of course.

It will probably come as little surprise that the working title for this vampire-in-a-girl’s-school film was “I Was A Teenage Vampire” or that one of the teen-aged boys is asked to sing “that song.” Which is, yes, just as annoying as these moments always are.

One interesting detail is that the girl’s vampire fangs — which are, supposedly the first to appear in any movie — are unique — closer together than we expect; long; thin; and curved towards each other. The effect is more insect-like than it is like a wolf.

This is an interesting culty little black and white film, which I found far better than I expected. It never tries to be anything more than a fun little horror film with a few good scares, but it does that well enough. Certainly it is one of the better AIP films, and one of the better films Herbert L. Strock directed (which may not be saying much).

And, let’s face it, the basic notion here, of dragging not just psychic powers but Dracula into the world of science (kicking and screaming all the way) is utterly batty in the best sort of way.

Pun intended.

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