Our Halloween month of movies kicks off with a film that has never run on MeTV- and gives us the tricky treat of the great Bela Lugosi once again taking on the role of an undead blood-sucker out for revenge against a family that endeavored to end his career of making unauthorized transfusions- it’s the 1943 chiller “Return of the Vampire”!
Our story begins with Sir Fredrick Fleet of Scotland Yard going over the notes of an Oxford professor, Walter Saunders, from nearly a quarter decade ago, describing an unbelievable incident- in which a vampire, aided by a werewolf lackey, sought out the whereabouts of one of his victims- a woman who has been taken to the clinic of doctor Lady Jane Ainsley, who is baffled by the cause of the victim’s anemia. Living on the premises are the Lady’s son and Saunders’ grand-daughter. When the vampire finds his original victim is not alone- he attacks the young girl!
Meanwhile, the original victim has passed away- and Prof. Saunders spend the night reading a treatise about vampires , written some two hundred years ago by one Armand Tesla. In the morning, he sees that the dead woman’s neck has marks on it that make him believe she was a victim of a vampire. He has trouble getting Lady Jane to believe it- until they discover the young grand-daughter Nikki now bears the same marks! They manage to save her, and are convinced that action must be taken- the Prof. and Lady Jane go to search the cemetery- ready to drive a spike through the vampire’s heart! They succeed in their mission- and, with the vampire’s demise, his werewolf assistant returns to human form, released from the vampire’s curse.
We return to the present 24 years later- and some grim news; Sir Fredrick feels they must find the body of this alleged vampire- and, if things are as described- he plans to accuse Lady Jane of murder, since there is no proof that the body in question was actually a genuine vampire- and she would have killed a living person! Lady Jane maintains that she took out a two hundred year old vampire- actually, Armand Tesla himself- whose morbid fascination with vampires cause him to become one ( just one of the handful of divergences from the usual vampire/werewolf lore we’ve learned in movies)!
Back at her clinic, Lady Jane tells her son John, now an adult, about the possible charge against her. Her claim will be supported if they just find the body, and it hasn’t decomposed! They decide not to tell any of this to Nikki- the grand-daughter who is also now an adult- and, actually, John’s fiancée- because they don’t want to remind her of her childhood brush with the vampire!
Entering and hearing about their plans is Andreas- the former assistant to Tesla , restored to humanity, and now working at the clinic. When he hears about the plans to find Tesla’s body, he is truly upset, recalling his werewolf past.
Since the time period is now that of World War II, a bombing raid on the area causes some damage at the cemetery- which results in- Tesla being revived! Andreas, sent by Lady Jane to pick up a scientist who escaped from the Nazis to work in Britain, encounters his old master- and reverts to his werewolf form! Doing the vampire’s bidding, he arranges for Tesla to assume the scientist’s identity- and begin his plot to take revenge on Lady Jane and her loved ones!
This film , as we will explain, was actually planned as a sort of sequel to Lugosi’s original “Dracula”- we’ll tell you why that was changed, and, of course, run down the cast, which includes not only Bela ,but lovely Nina Foch- whom you’ll also see in next week’s show. We’ll bring you a new song, some interviews with cast members of a certain more contemporary vampire movie, a commercial for a must-have product for vampire hunters, and, in honor of the baseball season winding up, show Sven’s adventures from this summer as a guest of the Windy City Thunderbolts!
"Return of the Vampire" awaits you on Me-TV tonight at 8pm eastern/pacific, 7 pm central, or, if unsure of station and time in your area, please check your local listings or at www.metv.com MeTV would love for you to live-Tweet along with the scores of Sven fans on Twitter during the show, using the hashtag #svengoolie at the end of all your posts! Chicago viewers can finish up the Gill Man trilogy with “The Creature Walks Among Us” on WCIU, the U, at 11 am. Let me remind you, again, that we will have the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon” for you later this year.
Having completed our visit to the Drury Lane production of “Little Shop of Horrors” last night- we now prepare to appear in the 50th anniversary Houby Parade – yes, in BERWYN - tomorrow, with the parade kicking off at noon! In the upcoming week- be prepared to pick up Mad Magazine #4 , featuring a fun satire of –yours truly! Then, next Saturday, a full day of appearances- check out the info under the “appearances” tab right here on our site- with more to come!
Better pack some snacks that are heavy on the garlic for tonight- just to be safe- when you tune into our show on MeTV!
Top of Form