Cast & Crew
One morning in a European cemetery, investigator Meyerman and several assistants prepare to open a casket at sunrise in order to trap a vampire, but upon lifting the lid, find their intended quarry has vanished. Nearby, onboard a train, Belak Gordal, an artist headed to visit distant relatives in America is attacked by the fleeing vampire who then assumes the man's identity. Several days later in Carleton, California, teenage Rachel Mayberry, her younger brother Mickey and mother Cora anxiously await the arrival of Cora's cousin Belak, whom Cora has not seen since childhood. Rachel has maintained a written correspondence with Belak and when he arrives, she finds him elegant and sophisticated. The first evening at the Mayberrys', Belak disappoints Rachel by refusing to dine with the family. Explaining that he has come to America to pursue a free artistic life, Belak asks Rachel to accept what may appear to be reclusive, odd behavior. Rachel agrees, confiding to Belak that his creativity has encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming a dress designer. The next morning, Mickey arrives home distraught after searching for his pet cat and finding the animal brutally mauled in an abandoned mine shaft just outside of town. Rachel hopes to spend the day showing Belak the countryside, but discovers that he has left the house early. Unknown to the others, Belak establishes a secret retreat in the mine. At dusk, Belak meets Rachel as she is leaving the house and explains that he has spent the day painting. Rachel invites Belak to accompany her to the parish house, where she tends to the sick, to meet her blind friend, Jennie Blake, who would appreciate Belak's captivating visual descriptions. Belak demurs, but promises to meet Jennie soon. At the parish house, run by Reverend Whitfield, Rachel finds Jennie unusually anxious and reads to her in an effort to calm her. Jennie interrupts to tell Rachel of the strange certainty she has that she will die very soon. Rachel continues reading until Jennie falls asleep. Acting on a strange compulsion, Rachel then leaves the parish house early, and foregoes her usual ride home with her boyfriend Tim. Under the guidance of a strange force, Rachel begins walking away from the town, until Tim hails her from his car, breaking the inexplicable spell. Late that night under a full moon, Belak materializes through the open window in Jennie's room and attacks her. The next morning Rev. Whitfield summons Rachel to the parish house to see Jennie, who has become gravely ill. When Rachel arrives, Jennie gives her a crucifix and frantically insists on closing the window. Struggling to get across the room, Jennie collapses and dies. After Jennie's funeral several days later, the Mayberrys arrive home to find Mack Bryant, a cohort of Meyerman's, who introduces himself as an immigrations officer. Bryant explains that a man's death in Belak's community has prompted an investigation of all the recent visitors from that country. Certain that Belak is away, Cora agrees to allow Bryant to search Belak's room only to find her cousin at home. Bryant finds Belak's papers in order, but before departing secretly snaps Cora and Belak's picture with a tiny camera hidden in a cigarette lighter. Bryant then meets Meyerman, who takes the film and orders Bryant to leave town so as not to arouse suspicion. Meanwhile, Belak goes to the cemetery where he calls Jennie forth from her crypt and sends her to lure Bryant away from the train station. Once Bryant starts to follow Jennie, Belak transforms himself into a white dog and kills him. Upon learning of Bryant's death, Meyerman asks Sheriff Bicknell for help. The following day Meyerman visits Dr. Paul Beecher to ask about any recent unusual deaths. Belak returns to the Mayberry home to find Tim and Rachel planning their costumes for the forthcoming Halloween party at the parish house, but refuses to participate despite Rachel's pleading. The night before Halloween, Rachel dreams that Belak awakens her and demands that she remove Jennie's crucifix. On Halloween, Meyerman asks Rev. Whitfield to open Jennie's crypt, explaining that he believes she has been turned into the "undead." When Rev. Whitfield demands proof of Meyerman's fantastic charge, Meyerman shows him the picture taken of Belak with Cora which shows Cora alone. Dressing for Halloween that night, Rachel debates whether she should wear the crucifix, but decides to keep it on. Rachel searches for Belak in his room and spots several blank canvases. Rachel becomes frightened when she finds that the only completed canvas depicts her lying in a casket. Downstairs, Rachel is startled to see Belak, then realizes with horror that he has no reflection in the mirror. Belak places Rachel in a trance just as Tim arrives. Unaware that Rachel is in a trance, Tim escorts her to the party. There Rev. Whitfield privately introduces Rachel to Meyerman and asks her to convince her mother and Mickey to spend the night at the parish house. Rachel agrees, but after departing listens at the door and overhears Meyerman mention Jennie. Still under Belak's spell, Rachel leaves the party despite Tim's protests. Meanwhile, Meyerman, the sheriff and Rev. Whitfield go to Jennie's crypt, to wait for her return so that Meyerman can drive a stake through her heart to release her from Belak's power. Under Belak's spell, Rachel meets Belak at the mine, but he is repelled by Jennie's crucifix. At the same moment that Rachel acquiesces to remove the cross, Meyerman drives the stake into Jennie's heart causing Balek to react. With the spell broken, Rachel realizes Belak's intentions and flees through the mine where she meets Tim, who has followed her. Belak catches up to them and attempts to place Tim in a trance, but Rachel gives him the crucifix to ward off the vampire's power. Belak trips and falls into one of the mine shaft, meeting his death when his heart is impaled by a steel bar.
Harry Harvey Sr.
Jules V. Levy
Bernard F. Mceveety [jr.]
Sherman A. Rose
James D. Vance
This film was first released as the top half of a double bill with FLAME BARRIER, THE .
The working title of the film was Curse of Dracula. The film's climactic scene, in which "Meyerman" pounds the stake into "Jennie's" heart, is shown in color. Some contemporary sources list the character played by John Wengref as "Merriman" but he is called "Meyerman" in the film. Modern sources add the following actors to the credits: William Fawcett (Eddie); Joseph Hamilton (Man at station); and Charles Tannen (Mack Bryant).
For more information about films inspired by the character "Dracula," created by Bram Stoker, see the entry for the 1931 Universal production Dracula in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40.
Released in United States 1958
Released in United States 1958