Blu-Ray News #202: The Return Of The Vampire (1944).

Directed by Lew Landers
Starring Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch, Miles Mander, Matt Willis

The Return Of The Vampire (1944) was Bela Lugosi’s last starring role for a major studio (Columbia). It’s the closest he came to making a sequel to his 1931 Dracula, though you could make a strong case for Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Lugosi’s Armand Tesla (pretty much Dracula with his name changed for copyright reasons), a vampire in London who’s awakened by a Nazi bomb (what a great plot point!). Accompanied by a werewolf sidekick, Tesla/Dracula is soon seeking revenge on those who staked him back in 1918.

Scream Factory has announced its February Blu-Ray release. Extras and stuff have not been disclosed as of yet.



Filed under Bela Lugosi, Columbia, DVD/Blu-ray News, Shout/Scream Factory

13 responses to “Blu-Ray News #202: The Return Of The Vampire (1944).

  1. john k

    Shout Factory are releasing Sci Fi/Horror films at such a clip that the H8
    is in danger of becoming a “Shout Factory Press Release Site”
    Good to see more Bela in high def,too bad he never lived to see the
    “cult” status he would achieve,or his back catalogue being released on
    Blu Ray. Toby makes a poignant point that RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE
    was Bela’s last starring role in a major studio movie.
    From a link on DVD Drive In I see there is a Hammer on Blu Ray Facebook
    page-which really,from a cursory look means Horror and Sci Fi on Blu Ray.
    One things for sure the cats who contribute (a) cannot wait to get new
    releases (b) go International (c) money is no object.
    I was most interested to see that they consider the very expensive
    German Anolis version of DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE
    is superior to the Warner Bros release.
    I might add that I have the Warner version which I thought looked stellar.
    They are very pleased with Twilight Time’s recent SWORD OF SHERWOOD
    FOREST – excellent-far superior to TT’s PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
    which again I thought looked wonderful.
    I have not seen any screen grabs for “Sherwood” yet but the news on the
    street is that it looks wonderful,furthermore it might be a good film for
    Toby’s daughter , now thanks to Star Wars she seems to be on
    a Peter Cushing kick.
    Those were the days when I could afford Twilight Time releases.
    As mentioned before,money seems to be no object for Horror fans
    hence the huge number of these type of films getting released,and that
    seems to include anything with Hammer’s top guns Cushing and Lee.
    I’m looking forward to the Hammer Facebook crowd’s take on the
    German HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (Lee) and am intrigued
    to know what the “bonus” film is included in the package.


  2. john k

    I might add if I had unlimited finances,which sadly I don’t,I would love
    to have a huge Hammer Blu Ray collection everything from THE
    QUATERMASS XPERIMENT onwards,including the Swashbucklers but
    excluding the comedies (never Hammer’s forte) and On The Buses
    TV spin off nonsense.
    Those Mill Creek double releases were fantastic and I do hope that
    they have not done with them yet.
    I do however have the prime Cushing/Lee classics and other greats
    like CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF,and hopefully other oddball projects
    like THE VIKING QUEEN will eventually turn up on Blu Ray.


  3. Texican

    Mill Creek has a Robin Hood collection of 5 films coming on DVD (not Blu).
    It includes SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST and the three others that have been out in the past separately from Sony. The fifth title in the package is not a Robin Hood movie–it’s THE BLACK ARROW, which was out previously as a Sony Archive MOD release.


  4. walter

    Texican, I think we should give a Shout Out! to SHOUT! FACTORY and MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT for releasing affordable DVD’S. SHOUT! FACTORY is placing extra features on some of their recent collections. As in the BILLY JACK and WALKING TALL collections.


  5. Bert Greene

    I watched “Return of the Vampire” not too terribly long ago. It’s a better little film than I remembered. I’d picked up the Sony dvd about a decade ago at a Big Lots store for only about three dollars. Can’t deny I’d like to upgrade to blu, but I’ll demure in this case, as it’s all a matter of pocketbook priorities. I have a hard time justifying upgrades from highly decent dvd’s to blu, unless it’s a major, major favorite. There are just so many slews of films I love which I only have copies of in either decades-old VHS off-air recordings, or muddy-looking bootleg dupes of scratchy old 16mm tv-prints. It’s these type of titles that I really crave to have upgraded on blu.

    I will spring for “The Mole People,” though, as I have a particularly strong nostalgic affection for it. Would also love to see “Curse of the Undead” (1959) make the Blu-ray grade, as it’s been absent far too long. Plus, as ridiculous as it is, I have an inordinate fondness for “The Thing That Couldn’t Die” (1958), and would also hope to see it make it to blu. The Universal Vault ‘mod’ of it looks awfully soft, as I recall. But while on the topic of late-50s Universals, something I’d really love to see again is “Damn Citizen” (1957). Saw it on a late-show back around 1978-79, and haven’t seen it since.


    • walter

      Bert, I hadn’t thought about DAMN CITIZEN in years. I don’t think I’ve seen it since the early 1970’s. I saw a lot of Universal-International movies on Channel 3 WREC-TV , Memphis, Tennessee back in the day. I remember liking it, because it was loosely based on a true story of Louisiana’s reform Governor Robert F. Kennon’s crack down on corruption in 1952. He appoints Lt. Colonel Francis C. Grevemberg(Keith Andes) to the position of superintendent of state police. Andes, portraying Grevemberg, wiped out corruption in the Louisiana State Police and then went after the rackets. Looking at the movie credits at IMDb, the screenplay was by the Academy Award and Golden Globe winning writer of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT(1967) Stirling Silliphant.

      This has nothing to do with DAMN CITIZEN, but I remember that during the 1990’s, actor Keith Andes was interviewed on the phone by Ray Nielsen, host of THE GOOD TIMES PICTURE SHOW. Andes had co-starred with Marilyn Monroe in CLASH OF NIGHT(1952). There was always a murmur about them having a relationship. Nielsen actually asked Andes if they had an affair. Andes replied that they didn’t.


      • Bert Greene

        Yep, Keith Andes guested at one of the Memphis Film Festivals back in the mid-1990s, but it was a year I missed out on going. I think Ben Johnson and Gene Evans also showed up at that one. Plus, Richard Martin (from the Tim Holt films) and his wife. Hate that I missed it. I’ve long wanted to see a few more of Andes’ tv-series, “This Man Dawson,” a pretty tough, made-for-syndication crime series.


  6. walter

    John K, you brought up the HAMMER sword and sandal movie THE VIKING QUEEN(1967), which I haven’t seen since the 1970’s. It is a somewhat “oddball” movie. I first saw it on the ABC SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE in 1972. I wasn’t used to seeing Don Murray in this type of movie and he was a long way FROM HELL TO TEXAS(1958). I have never seen the Finnish model Carita Jarvinen in any other movie since. Although, she had a small role in LADIES MAN(1962), which I have never seen. If my memory serves me right, Carita gave an adequate performance in a movie that didn’t have any Viking included in the whole movie! I guess HAMMER FILMS liked the title.


  7. john k

    Sort of off topic,but perhaps not as we’re talking Columbia B’s
    Arrow UK have announced for February two Joseph H Lewis Noirs
    making their high def debut next February.
    SO DARK THE NIGHT and MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS so impressed Columbia head honcho Harry Cohn that he promoted Lewis to A movies;
    the excellent Gothic Swashbuckler THE SWORDSMAN (which plays in
    part like a Scottish Western) and two features starring Columbia’s
    “homeboy” Glenn Ford.
    The two Arrow Blu Ray’s are released separately with many extras including
    Lewis profiles from The Nitrate Diva and Imogen Sara Smith-Walter please
    enlighten me.
    Both titles are shot by the always wonderful Burnett Guffey.
    As far as I’m concerned it’s always sublime to have vintage B Movies
    given loving restorations in high def,and furthermore being a domestic
    (for me) release I will not have to worry about the constant international
    sinking of the pound.


  8. walter

    John K, as of yet, I’ve not viewed SO DARK THE NIGHT(1946) and MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS(1945), but Laura has, over at her blog site. Also, she has a link to her review of MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS and a link to her friend Susan Doll’s review of the same movie.

    I am familiar with the writings of Imogen Sara Smith and Nora Fiore(The Nitrate Diva). Nora Fiore is a twentysomething Millennial, who actually loves black and white Classic movies. I first ran across her by reading a double feature write-up she did about Mary Carlisle, MURDER IN A PRIVATE CAR(1934) and ONE FRIGHTENED NIGHT(1935) and a review of a Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movie, THE SCARLET CLAW(1944). I enjoyed her take on these movies. I found her on Twitter and I enjoy the photo’s she posts from Classic movies. I ignore her political posts. She is a UX writer, content strategist, and researcher at Marketade in Pawlet, Vermont.

    Imogen Sara Smith is Executive Director of the Dance Heritage Coalition. Smith is based in Brooklyn a borough of New York City. She is the author of two books on film history, BUSTER KEATON: THE PERSISTENCE OF COMEDY(2008) and IN LONELY PLACES: FILM NOIR BEYOND THE CITY(2011). I first ran across her by reading her 2009 write-up, “Past Sunset: Noir in the West.” That led me to an earlier 2008 write-up about Nick Ray’s THE LUSTY MEN(1952).

    Imogen Sara Smith is a really good writer and she has written a lot for the CRITERION COLLECTION and several other publications. Here she is on YouTube.


  9. walter

    Toby, a comment I just sent didn’t get through, but it tells me that “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” So hopefully it will eventually get through.


  10. john k

    I hope Walter’s comment finally gets through…I’d sure hate to miss it.
    I think I mentioned this elsewhere sometime ago,Colin’s perhaps, that
    I’d love to see a Joseph H Lewis Columbia Blu Ray set.
    Apart from the two aforementioned Noirs it could also include
    THE SWORDSMAN and THE UNDERCOVER MAN as well as the two
    fine Randolph Scott Westerns A LAWLESS STREET and 7TH CAVALRY.
    I understand Lewis was none too pleased with the latter but the great man’s
    style never falters.
    To round off the set perhaps one of Lewis’ Columbia Wild Bill Elliott
    B Westerns.
    I do recall reading somewhere that Harry Cohn was due to see the
    rushes of Columbia’s A movies which were not ready so they showed him
    MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS to which Cohn replied I want to see his (Lewis’)
    rushes every day.
    At any rate it was not long before Lewis was promoted to bigger budgets.
    THE SWORDSMAN is a pretty big budget affair,after all Larry Parks was
    “hot” having just recently made mega smash THE JOLSON STORY;
    incidentally Lewis directed the production numbers on that picture.


  11. john k

    Walter….thanks so much for your reply,I just knew that you,of all people
    would have more information on Nora and Imogen.
    For me it’s wonderful that this new breed of hip, erudite American young
    women have this love for classic movies.
    Thanks so much for the links I enjoyed our friend Laura’s take on the two
    Lewis films and I will read Imogen’s lengthy articles tomorrow when I have
    more time.
    I have never seen SO DARK THE NIGHT and as Laura mentions the
    uninspired cast is something of a detraction,however I’m so glad that
    Laura gives Burnett Guffey his full dues.
    Regarding Nora,I must admit I’m bemused/intrigued by your comment
    “I ignore her political posts”
    Thanks again,Walter so much for taking the time and effort to enlighten
    me and for those great links that you have provided.
    Finally the fact that Nora and Imogen are involved in Arrow’s Lewis
    Blu Ray’s has made these now a “must have” purchase for me.


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