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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > Thriller > Mystery > The Return Of Dracula (1958/United Artists/Olive Films Blu-ray)

The Return Of Dracula (1958/United Artists/Olive Films Blu-ray)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: D Film: C

Hollywood director Paul Landres (who directed episodes of The Lone Ranger and The Vampire) brings his vision to the 1958 Vampiric tale The Return of Dracula - that doesn't really add much to the history of the character or try anything new but is still a gorgeous looking black and white film that especially looks good on Blu-ray disc. With a terrific score that reminds me a lot of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining in terms of its theme, the film also boasts a decent cast with Francis Lederer (Terror is a Man) as Dracula, Norma Eberhardt (Problem Girls), and Ray Stricken (The Lost World).

Don't go into this expecting a lot of blood and gore or Hammer-like imagery, this Dracula is more European and non-traditional. In fact, one reason this film didn't get as much attention upon its initial release was because of Christopher Lee's iconic rise to stardom and taking over of the Dracula role that same year which, in all honestly, Horror of Dracula is a far superior film not only in terms of production design and gothic imagery, but cinematically as well.

The Return of Dracula centers around Count Dracula (Lederer) who goes under the name Bellac Gordal (much like how Lon Chaney Jr's Dracula went under a different name in Son of Dracula) and travels across the world from Transylvania to America (California to be a fact, surprise surprise) to meet Cora - member of the Mayberry Family and aims to make her daughter Rachel Mayberry (Eberhardt) his new Vampiric Bride. Wise to the fact that the Count isn't all he seems, Rachel soon becomes helpless to the powers of the Nocturnal stranger.

The film looks like it was shot last week on Blu-ray disc - shining in 1080p black and white 1.85 X 1 high definition image that adds to the film's charm for me personally. The sound mix has been remastered in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 lossless Mono and sounds as good as it can. The film is in great shape considering its age, with impeccable detail on the contrasty shadows and skin textures.

The only extra is the trailer - which makes the film out to be a bit creepier than it actually is.

Having seen just about every Dracula film, this one would go lower on my list but the presentation here is pretty top notch.

A long while ago, Film Score Monthly issued the soundtrack to this film on CD that also included Gerald Fried's music scores for I Bury The Living, The Cabinet of Caligari (1962), and Mark of the Vampire. It is a Limited Edition limited to only 2,500 copies and is still in print as of this posting. You can read more about it at this link...


- James Lockhart



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