Blood of the Vampire/The Hellfire Club [DVD]
- SKU: 15142445
- Release Date: 11/21/2006
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- Blood of the Vampire commentary with Jimmy Sangster and Robert S. Baker
- Drive-in programming
Although released in the United States as a 63-minute black-and-white film, this 93-minute British swashbuckler from the producer/directors of Jack the Ripper is actually a lush color spectacle which looks like one of the Hammer Films adventures of the time, even though it was produced by New World. The similarities are not only cosmetic, however, as the film was co-written by Hammer stalwart Jimmy Sangster and co-stars studio regulars Peter Cushing, Miles Malleson, the dwarf Skip Martin, and Adrienne Corri (the future Clockwork Orange starlet who has a discreet nude scene here with German actress Kai Fischer). The ridiculous story concerns Jason, the young son of the notoriously decadent pervert Lord Netherton (Andrew Faulds), leader of London's infamous sex den, the Hellfire Club. Jason's mother (Jean Lodge) flees with the child after he is viciously whipped for walking in on one of his father's orgies. Many years later, his parents have died and Jason (Keith Michell) has become a Dutch circus acrobat, but decides to return to England to claim the ancestral mansion which is rightfully his. Posing as a coachman to his evil, perverse cousin Thomas (Peter Arne), whose oversight of the Hellfire Club has lifted its kinky membership into being the de facto power behind King George II's rule, Jason tries to defeat the club, gain back his inheritance, and rescue his childhood love (Fischer), whom Thomas kidnaps. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi
Blood of the Vampire
A palatable combination of horror and science fiction, Blood of the Vampire takes place in 19th century Transylvania-and never mind that all the locals have cockney accents. British stage star Donald Wolfit, who never spoke when shouting would do, plays the vampiric Dr. Callistratus. Though we see Callistratus being dispatched in traditional stake-through-the-heart fashion during the opening credits, it isn't long before he returns to life, this time in the guise of a prison warden. Using his criminally insane charges as his guinea pigs, Callistratus drains their bodies of blood in order to stay alive. In the film's incredibly busy climax, Callistratus is prevented from carving up the toothsome Madeleine (Barbara Shelley) by his hunchbacked assistant Carl (Victor Maddern). We didn't see the kitchen sink, but we'll bet that that's in here somewhere too. Often mistaken for a Hammer film production (mainly because it was written by perennial Hammer scrivener Jimmy Sangster), Blood of the Vampire was actually produced by the short-lived Artistes Alliance Ltd. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Michael Balfour - John the Juggler
- Desmond Walter-Ellis
- Andrew Faulds - Lord Netherden
- Tutte Lemkow - Higgins
- Jean Lodge - Lady Netherden