Wednesday, October 22, 2008

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22 Movie 2

"The Vampire" (1957) is a great low-budget tragedy involving an experiment involving instincts and regression. When the town doctor, Dr. Beecher (John Beal) is summoned to attend to the ailing scientist running these experiments, the scientist hands him a bottle of pills connected to his experiments, then expires. Later, Dr. Beecher mistakenly takes one of these pills instead of his migraine medication. Suddenly murders begin happening at the rate of one a night. Each victim is found with two small punctures on their neck, and suffers complete capillary disintegration, their bodies going through complete cellular decomposition at an accelerated rate. Beecher remembers nothing of what he does at night, but slowly begins piecing together that he's responsible, and that the addicting pills he's compelled to take are what's causing his transformation.

The cast, also including Coleen Gray, Kenneth Toby, Lydia Reed and dabs Greer are all excellent in their roles. Beal is a very sympathetic victim/murderer in this movie. You really care about the fates of those around Beacher and hope that he can find a cure to his problem before it's too late. The scenes between him and his daughter convincingly demonstrate their love for one another, making what comes truly heartbreaking. The script is well written, and the drug addiction element is thankfully never preachy.

This is one of my favorite movies from this year's viewing.

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