To begin with, this film has nothing whatever to do with
the vampiric Transylvanian. But why not cash in on a name
synonymous with celluloid chills? Its torpid teen protagonist
is burdened with some of the suave count's baser tendencies,
but any resemblance begins and ends there.
The shaky script covers much the same turf as American
International's previous box office smash, I Was a Teenage
Werewolf (arguably the most recognizable and parodied
title in film history). A distaff version starring a twisted
sister made financial sense. Much like Michael Landon's
pent up lycanthrope in the aforementioned film, Sandra Harrison
plays a troubled teen with a turbulent family background.
Packed off to boarding school by Dad and a steely step-mom,
her aggressive tendencies are noticed by an icy female professor
who finds Sandra an ideal subject for experimentation.
Through hypnotic regression (again borrowing from Teenage
Werewolf wherein a teen was manipulated by a domineering
adult via the same technique), she unlocks the girl's latent
animalistic nature, revealing a creature that sports what
is truly one of filmdom's most unscary makeup jobs. With
buck teeth, flaring nostrils and a bulbous head, her eyebrows
stretch nearly to her pointy ears. The slicked back, widow's
peak predated Eddie Munster's debut by a good eight years.
The beautiful poster art promised sheer terror amid technicolor
bloodletting, but none was actually committed to celluloid.
The film's one nifty highlight comes in the form of a musical
interlude where again, the movie's resemblence to Werewolf
is calculated. After some local boys sneak into the girl's
dorm, cool cat Jerry Blain croons 'Puppy Love' as the delighted
teens dance about the room holding pillows that, for some
reason, honk like car horns whenever the dancers touch.
It is cloying attempts like these to reach the teens in
the audience that make such films worth remembering. The
thrills they sought to deliver initially are a bonus.
Any B fan interested in the same type of adolescent angst-driven
scares should check out the following titles, only a sample
of the teen-targeted, drive-in fare cut from the same cape
as Blood of Dracula:
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957)
The best-known film of producer Herman Cohen
who repeated the chore on Blood of Dracula and a
slew of others. The immortal Whit Bissell hypnotizes Michael
Landon into his hirsuited state. The musical interlude with
singer Tony Marshall is hopelessly out of sync. Gene Fowler
(I Married a Monster From Outer Space) directs with
I Was a Teenage
Herbert L. Strock
(whose unfailing hand helmed Blood of Dracula) directs
a decent cast through a threadbare retelling of the Frankenstein
story with a teenage twist. A descendant of the original
mad doc (the great Whit Bissell once again) creates a delinquent
walking cadaver out of passing teenagers. Mayhem and priceless
dialogue ensue. With top-flight screamer Phyllis (Lois Lane)