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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Vampire's Ghost [Blu-ray]


(Lesley Selander, 1945)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Republic Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 0:58:59.160

Disc Size: 15,006,599,012 bytes

Feature Size: 14,827,290,624 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 31st, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1771 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1771 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, None



• None





Description: The Vampire’s Ghost, starring John Abbott (Gigi), Charles Gordon (Road to Alcatraz), Grant Withers (Rio Grande) and Peggy Stewart (The Runaways), grabs the viewer by the throat and doesn’t let go.

In the African port town of Bakunda, the undead are restless. Webb Fallon (Abbott), having fallen under the curse of the vampire, is unable to find eternal peace. With an unquenchable thirst for blood, Fallon wanders the vast landscape in search of sustenance and the local missionary Father Gilchrist (Withers), along with friends Roy Hendrick (Gordon) and Julie Vance (Stewart) could very well be his next … victims!

Directed by Lesley Selander (Dragonfly Squadron) and written by John K. Butler (Drums Across the River) and Leigh Brackett (
The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye) based on an original story by Brackett, The Vampire’s Ghost is the quintessential 1940s horror film – when an ominous shadow and a widened eye conveyed all one needed to know of the horror to come.)



The Film:

It is altogether typical of Republic Pictures that the studio's 1945 horror effort The Vampire's Ghost was interrupted mid-film by a barroom brawl! Set in a coastal African village, the story concerns one Webb Fallon (John Abbott), an unprepossessing sort who holds the region in thrall because of his vampiric tendencies. Fallon attempts to exercise his influence over a local plantation owner, and almost succeeds-until the hand of God, in the form of an intellectual priest (Grant Withers), intervenes. Republic stalwart Peggy Stewart and newcomer Charles Gordon handle the romantic subplot. Vampire's Ghost was the first screenwriting effort by Leigh Brackett, who went on to somewhat loftier projects like The Big Sleep and Rio Bravo.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

"Dark land" indeed! Except in the case of this very unusual B picture from Republic Studios, the darkness is imported in the form of a world traveling, world weary English vampire who's lived too long and seen too much. More unusual still, the native African characters, rather than being portrayed in typical '40s fashion as hapless, comic relief foils, are instead strong and knowledgeable, quickly catching on to the evil in their midst (and trying to do something about it), while the white Americans and Europeans are mostly portrayed as vulgar, or clueless, or both.

Excerpt from FilmFromBeyond located HERE

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

The Vampire's Ghost arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. This is, typically, only single-layered but has a high bitrate. The image quality is remarkable with excellent contrast - from a source with maintained density. There is depth and a high level of detail. There is adept shadow detail. There are film-like textures and the 1080P image has inconsistencies but they seem inherent in the production - no fault of the transfer or damage (of which there is none to address.) The Blu-ray presentation is a strong one and adds to the film's nostalgic 'B' charms.



















Visible Cue-Blip



Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1771 kbps (24-bit). There is no real score (a couple of dramatic flourishes and jungle drums) but the dialogue was clear and clean. It is all pretty unremarkable but audible with the visuals more prevalent in establishing mood. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their releases.



The Vampire's Ghost reminded me, many times, of Jacques Tourneur's brilliant I Walked with a Zombie. While not at that level of creativity - it had similar visuals and I was keen on the story. It had enough vampiric conventions to make this worthwhile, imo. In a few ways it was ahead of its time. The Olive, bare-bones, Blu-ray gives a very good presentation. If you are keen, you might be pleasantly surprised by the, fast-paced, film's horror charms. 

Gary Tooze

November 1st, 2017


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