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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Vampire [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Landres, 1957)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Gramercy Pictures

Video: Shout! Factory

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:16:21.910

Disc Size: 20,838,991,885 bytes

Feature Size: 20,481,484,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.98 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 11th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1926 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1926 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Trailer (1:18)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: The patients are sick… but the doctor is a real sicko! When a small-town physician (John Beal) accidentally swallows experimental bat serum pills, he’s soon up to his Hippocratic Oath in blood-thirsty desire! Transformed into an undead fiend, the doctor finds himself sucked into a dark and sinister world: where he must save patients by day… and suck their blood by night!

***

Small-town doctor Paul Beecher (John Beal) is given some strange pills by a dying elderly researcher. Later, when Paul gets a severe headache, his young daughter accidentally gives him the mystery pills. He's later puzzled by a series of strange deaths in which all the blood was drained from the bodies of the victims and then discovers the old researcher was working on a project involving vampire bats. The horrified Paul gradually begins to suspect that he himself is the killer.

 

 

The Film:

One of the last vampire films made before Hammer Films changed the game entirely with Horror of Dracula (1958) was this United Artists production, which was often programmed on double features with another 1957 monster outing, The Monster That Challenged the World. Interestingly, both films had the distinction of being written by a woman, Pat Fielder, which was something of a rarity at the time in horror cinema. A production assistant at the time, she went on to team up again with this film's first-time director, Paul Landres, for a follow up of sorts one year later, The Return of Dracula, along with the sci-fi film The Flame Barrier. That quartet of features would prove to be her only big screen credits, but she and Landres went on to work together on several episodes of the TV show The Rifleman, which made her a very busy writer for crime shows throughout the 1970s. The year before the release of The Vampire was an unusual one in the history of bloodsucker cinema thanks to the release of American International Pictures' Blood of Dracula, an attempt to fuse the troubled teen fad with the conventions of monster cinema in a manner similar to the more successful I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957). Serious vampires had been largely absent from American screens throughout the '50s, but the demand for updated twists on the monsters made popular by Universal quickly resulted in the same year's odd alien/vampire hybrid Not of This Earth from Roger Corman. In Mexico, another film also entitled The Vampire (El Vampiro), was released in 1957 as well, provoking no small amount of confusion in some horror movie guides with this particular title. 

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

One of the strongest assets of The Vampire is its atmospheric score by composer Gerald Fried, a specialist in yielding maximum production value with very little money. This was not only his first horror film but also his first with the Fielder/Landres team, with whom he would also work on their two subsequent features. More relevant to film buffs, however, is Fried's status as Stanley Kubrick's composer of choice since their debut film, Fear and Desire (1953)...

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Vampire looks respectable on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory - who seem to be releasing more of these early genre flics these past few years.  The 1080P image quality is adept in exporting the film's black and white visuals with layered contrast and some consistent grain textures. It has a high bitrate. There may be a few speckles but generally the image is clean with reasonable tightness in the few close-ups. It is transferred in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and looks good in-motion with some depth creeping in. There are no flaws - and provides an authentic visual presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

A standard lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 1926 kbps supports the minor sound effects but notably is the awkwardly bold score by Gerald Fried (A Killer in the Family, The Baby, and Kubrick's films Fear and Desire, Killer's Kiss, The Killing and Paths of Glory as well as venturing later into work in TV - Star Trek - and also the notable Joseph H. Lewis' western Terror in a Texas Town.) It sounds quite intense in the lossless. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Only a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I was in the mood for this as well as lovely Noir-gal favorite; Coleen Gray., plus Kenneth Tobey (memorable in 1951's The Thing From Another World and the Harryhausen appointed It Came from Beneath the Sea.) The Vampire is an innocent 50's horror grasping for an audience with genre conventions bending the vampire-legend - all on a modest budget.  The Shout! Factory Blu-ray produces a fine presentation - but the bare-bones status reserves it for fans solely keen on the film, genre and era. Enjoyable in its own way, but don't pay too much... 

Gary Tooze

March 31st, 2017

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze

 

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