I only discovered this movie when Olive Films announced they were releasing it on DVD and bly-ray, and my curiosity was piqued by that weird title. To me that title hints at a possible tale of psychic vampirism, and I hoped that’s where the flick was going, but, unfortunately, it didn’t. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, in fact I found myself liking it quite a bit, even though the movie has nothing to do with a supposed “ghost of a vampire.” I’m going to assume the title was meant to be metaphorical, or something. No, this is a movie about an actual flesh and blood vampire, except here the traditional lore of the bloodsucking undead is tweaked.
John Abbott is the vampire and he comes with a rather cool name too, Webb Fallon. He’s been around for 400 years and was cursed with undead-ism from something he did to a woman, which is never explained. Crosses work against him, so does the presence of a holy man, and he casts no reflection in a mirror, but he does cast shadows under a moonlit night, go figure. Being bitten by him and drained of blood will bring you back as a vampire, but we never see any of his risen victims, he only mentions them. He also retains the age old vampire ability to hypnotize and control another human’s mind. New to this vampire is he can walk around in daylight, with only his eyesight being bothered; hence the dark glasses he wears, and the only way to harm him is to stab him with spear tipped by molten silver. However, he can regain his vitality again if his body it set out in the open at night under the moon and a box of earth from his grave set under his head. Now, if you want to kill this dude dead, you’re going to have to burn him, which is how he’s taken out in the final minutes of the movie. He also doesn’t change into mist, a wolf, or a bat, and never shows his fangs, if he even has any, either. And he’s never shown drinking anyone’s blood, though he comes close to it right before he’s burned at the end.
Another thing unique to this film is that it takes place in Africa, and I have to admit I’ve never seen a vampire flick set in the jungle, for a minute it reminded me of the prologue of Bad Moon (1996), a werewolf movie where the poor soul cursed with lycanthrope first encountered the creature in the jungle of Nepal. I’ve never seen a werewolf in a jungle setting either until that movie.
In The Vampire’s Ghost there’s been a rash of deaths in a nearby village where all the victims have been drained of blood and sport puncture wounds on their necks. Roy Hendrick (Charles Gordon), his chick, Julie Vance (Peggy Stewart), and a Father Gilchrist (Grant Withers) are the main players up against this vamp. Fallon is the “new guy in town” and already has a reputation for knowing “dark things.” He also runs a bar where he’s inciting violence from time to-time by playing craps and winning—all the time. He starts out as a rather congenial guy who hooks up with Ray when he wants to go and check out this nearby village that has rumors of witchcraft attached to it figuring this is where the “vampire rumors” are coming from. On this trek is when the natives accompanying them start to believe Fallon is the vampire and try to kill him with that silver-tipped spear. This is also when Roy finds out what he is and is brainwashed Fallon intends to take Julie away from Roy. You see, he’s lonely, and wants another vamp by his side.
The rest of the film plays out with Roy being bedridden and incapacitated by Fallon’s brainwashery, but having lucid bouts enough to educate himself on vamp lore and try and tell Julie and Gilchrist who Webb really is. Eventually, Fallon kidnaps Julie and takes her to this abandoned temple in the jungle where a death cult used to worship their six armed God. I don’t know why he just didn’t bite her and make her a vampire earlier, but he wants to do it under the right conditions at this temple. Roy, Gilchrist and their fellow natives track him down and burn him up in the temple right before he puts the eternal bite on Julie. Yay, a happy ending.
There are no effects in this flick other than a quick shot of the invisible Fallon in a mirror, looking like the invisible man, for even though his clothing can be seen his hands and head cannot. Despite that it’s an effective little chiller from 1945, albeit a tame one, but, you know, sometimes I’m in the mood for one of these from yesteryear.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.33:1 high definition full frame—2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio—English SDH subs only
Blu-ray transfer actually looks real good! Recommended!
Extras included . . .