The Return of Dracula (1958)

return of dracula poster 1958 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting : 6/10
Visual: 6/10

Feels different than a normal vampire film

Minimal visuals and some odd plot choices

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Return of Dracula

Studio:  Gramercy Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  April 1958

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

return of dracula kills bellac gordal francis lederer norbert schiller

Acting 101: Act Scared!

Bellac Gordal (Norbert Schiller) is hoping to start a new life in America with his cousin Cora Mayberry (Greta Granstedt) and her children Rachel (Norma Eberhardt) and Mickey (Jimmy Baird).  When Bellac is killed by Count Dracula (Francis Lederer), he assumes his role as he moves into the small town.  Rachel is infatuated with her new cousin, and Dracula has his own interest in Rachel.  With vampire hunters trying to stop him once and for all, Dracula’s time could be running out.

Directed by Paul Landres, The Return of Dracula is a black-and-white horror thriller.  The film sometimes went by the title of Curse of Dracula.  It was originally released as a double-billing with The Flame Barrier.

I got The Return of Dracula as part of a double pack with The Vampire (1057) and didn’t expect much from it.  It was rather low budget, but it was an odd vampire picture that did some interesting things.

return of dracula rachel tim norma eberhardt ray stricklyn

“Tim”: Vampire Slayer

The movie has all the vampire clichés (aka coffins, bats, and hypnosis), but it shows very little when other films at the time were heavy into the classic cape wearing vampire with pointy teeth.  Bellac/Dracula instead seems like an odd foreigner and uses it to cover his vampirism.  There are some interesting ideas about outsiders in America and attempts to blend, but the core 1950s suburban story doesn’t have enough to go on (I kind of wanted to know what the real Bellac was fleeing from).

The cast also is both a mix of stock characters and different actor choices.  Francis Lederer is more along the lines of a Bela Lugosi who seems to have a smoothness to him that is both charming and off-putting.  He’s surrounded by characters out of Leave It to Beaver who can’t comprehend the odd outsider is any more than he says.

return of dracula ending francis lederer

Ouch…that one stings

The movie uses very minimal visuals.  It is pretty basic and set based (plus a visit to the classic Bronson Caves).  A final sequence in the film does something interesting in that it adds a color sequence including bright red blood when Jennie (Virginia Vincent) is staked…it is effective and brings the film to a modern feel.

The Return of Dracula was largely overshadowed by Hammer’s Horror of Dracula which introduced Christopher Lee’s Dracula.  It however is worth seeking out if you are a fan of vampire movies.  While it isn’t entirely revolutionary, it does have some unique aspects to its story and is a bit deeper than some of the B-Movie vampire films.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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