Although totally obscure and almost completely forgotten to modern audiences Blood of the Vampire has the dubious honour of being the first major attempt to imitate the colourful gothic horror of Hammer. Released mere months after Hammer had scored a major success with Dracula (1958) the screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster who had also penned Hammer’s early gothic successes. Where Sangster had shown himself to be adept in the skill of adaptation for the purposes of Hammer’s low budgets, his skills as an original writer are found wanting here. Sangster is on firmer ground when his screenplays call for derivation (the series of black and white psychological thrillers he wrote for Hammer in the 1960’s are a good example of this). Blood of the Vampire is derivation of the highest order - one of the worst types of cash ins - unfortunately the horror genre is most susceptible to this. Part of the reason why this can be rated as one of the worst imitations is a deceptive title and a deceptive pre-title sequence.
© Shaun Anderson 2010