Film (1957; vt Mark of the Vampire). Gramercy Pictures. Produced by Arthur Gardner, Arnold Laven, and Jules V Levy. Directed by Paul Landres. Written by Pat Fielder from her original story. Cast includes John Beal, Coleen Gray, Dabbs Greer (Dr Will Beaumont) and Kenneth Toby. 75 minutes. Black and white.
Small-town doctor Paul Beecher (Beal) is entrusted with an experimental Drug developed from the blood of vampire bats by a colleague, just before this friend dies from the drug's effects. Beecher takes the bottle with him; since he suffers from frequent migraine headaches, he already keeps another medicine in his pocket. Following the inevitable mix-up, Beecher accidentally takes the bat-blood drug and is soon temporarily transformed into a type of Vampire. He finds, however, that the pills are addictive, and that he has to take one per day, eventually – echoing Jekyll's plight in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) – reaching the point where he changes into the Monster without the drug. Sheriff Buck Donnelly (Toby) shoots him to death at the climax, just before he can kill his lady friend Carol Butler (Gray).
This Monster Movie may have partially inspired the Marvel Comics Antihero Morbius, the Living Vampire, who became such a monster through a somewhat similar accident. [GFi]
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