Movie Title: The Return of Dracula
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Starring: Francis Lederer, Norma Eberhardt, Ray Stricklyn, John Wengraf, Virginia Vincent, Gage Clarke, Jimmy Baird, Greta Granstedt, Enid Yousen
Review: When Dracula (Francis Lederer) pulls up the stakes from his native Europe and flees across the Atlantic, he tries to fit in by posing as the cousin of an unsuspecting American family. But when he starts sinking his teeth into every red-blooded thing California has to offer - he soon turns the Golden State...into a ghoulish state!
The Return of Dracula is a low-budget shocker that doesn't thrill or shock like you'd hope it would. Francis Lederer's Dracula doesn't really seem menacing, frightening, or seductive like Lugosi or Lee. In interviews Lederer said he wasn't a fan of the production and was tricked by agents to do the film, and it shows. As young Rachel, Norma Eberhardt is the real star here as she carries the movie on her sweetness, charm, and suspicions of her mysterious cousin.
The movie is a slow burn and follows the tropes of typical vampire fare. There isn't much suspense or dread, and Dracula certainly takes his sweet time doing vampire stuff. Most of the time I was saying to myself, "What is Dracula waiting for?" But I did like the one surprisingly colorful scene in this black and white picture where a vampire is dispatched with a wooden stake. It's definitely an odd vampire flick that's rather boring and not very "vampiric". It's only for true fang fans....which is weird because there are no fangs featured in this feature.
Fun Fact: The Hammer classic "Horror of Dracula" was issued shortly after this low budget black and white feature, quickly forgotten in the wake of Christopher Lee's successful portrayal in vivid color.