Talk about returning- tonight on MeTV, we bring back a notable vampire film-that ostensibly returned the great Bela Lugosi to the role of an undead menace that the grave could not imprison, seeking revenge against the family that tried to end his practice of making unauthorized transfusions- in the 1943 chiller “Return of the Vampire”!
We see Sir Fredrick Fleet of Scotland Yard, going over notes written almost a quarter century ago by Oxford professor Walter Saunders, describing an unbelievable incident- in which a vampire, aided by a werewolf lackey, sought out the whereabouts of one of his victims who had been taken to the clinic of doctor Lady Jane Ainsley,who was baffled by the cause of the female victim’s anemia. Also living on the premises of the clinic were the Lady’s son and Saunders’ grand-daughter. When the vampire arrived, finding that his original victim was not alone- he attacked the vulnerable young girl! Meanwhile, the original victim had passed away- and Prof. Saunders spent the night reading a treatise about vampires, written some two hundred years ago by one Armand Tesla.
The next morning, he saw that the deceased woman’s neck had marks on it that made him believe she was a victim of -a vampire! He struggled with getting Lady Jane to believe such a fantastic claim- until they discovered the young grand-daughter Nikki now bore the same marks! They managed to save her and, knowing that some action must be taken against this supernatural enemy- the Prof. and Lady Jane searched the cemetery- ready to drive a spike through the vampire’s heart! They succeeded in their mission- and, with the vampire’s demise, his werewolf assistant returned to his human form, released from the vampire’s curse by his death.
We return to the present- 24 years later- and some grim news; Sir Fredrick of the yard demands that the body of this alleged vampire must be found- and, if things match the descriptions in the notes-- he has no alternative but to accuse Lady Jane of murder, since a) there is no proof that the victim in question was actually a genuine vampire- and thusly b) she would have killed a living person! Lady Jane insists that her victim was a two hundred year old vampire- in fact, Armand Tesla himself- whose morbid fascination with vampires was what caused him to become one ( not quite the usual vampire lore we’ve learned in previous movies)!
Back at her clinic, Lady Jane tells her son John, now an adult, about the possible charge against her. They know her claim will be supported if they just find the body, and it hasn’t decomposed! They will refrain from telling any of this to Nikki- the grand-daughter who was attacked by Tesla, and is also now an adult- and also John’s fiancée. The reason for the secrecy-they feel it would be psychologically harmful to remind her of her childhood brush with the vampire!
Overhearing their plans is Andreas- the former lycanthrope assistant to Tesla , restored to humanity by his “master’s” demise, and now working at the clinic. When he hears about the plans to find Tesla’s body, he is truly upset, recalling the horrors of his werewolf past.
Unfortunately, World War II is being waged at this time, and a bombing raid on the area causes some damage at the cemetery where Tesla is interred. Bizarre circumstances lead to Tesla being revived! Andreas, sent by Lady Jane to pick up a visiting scientist who escaped from the Nazis to work for the Allies’ cause, encounters his old master- and reverts to his werewolf form! Once again doing the vampire’s bidding, he arranges for Tesla to assume the identity of the scientist - and begin his scheme to take revenge on Lady Jane and her loved ones!
We’ll explain on our program that this film was actually planned as a sort of sequel to Lugosi’s original “Dracula”-and you’ll learn why that was changed. We’ll present information about the cast, which, besides Bela, includes the lovely Nina Foch, plus a song, interviews with cast members of a certain more contemporary vampire movie, a commercial for a must-have product for vampire hunters, and more!
"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 enjoy a second look at Peter Cushing in “Revenge of Frankenstein” at 11 am on our main local channel, CW26.
We’re happy so many of you took advantage of the sale on all our Sven merchandise! The sale has ended, but if you have an interest in our seasonal items, you should probably order now- when they are gone, they’ll be gone!
Please join us tonight on MeTV for that hard-to-kill fella Bela!