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 verve.

Acting: A
Atmosphere: C
Fun: A+

I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1958)
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) Coates.

Acting: A-
Atmosphere: B
Fun: A

"His companion ... the ape that fights crime!"
The Monster and the Ape

"It just won't lay down and stay dead!"
The Head

"It can and DID happen!"
The She Creature

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