APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 21: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

This isn’t an official sequel to the 1931 Universal Studios film Dracula but it really feels like it, except that Lugosi’s name is Armand Tesla and this is made by Columbia. This would be the actor’s last major studio movie.

Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) is stalked by Tesla twice, once during the first World War and again during the second. The first time they crossed paths, she ended up staking him and freeing Andréas, a werewolf, from his curse. He becomes her assistant and his makeup would go on to be used again in 1956’s The Werewolf.

Twenty four years later, during the blitz, some cemetery workers find the body of Tesla and remove the stake from his heart, thinking that it’s shrapnel. Now Tesla walks the Earth again, with Andréas back in thrall, taking the name of Hugo Bruckner, a scientist who has escaped from a concentration camp and is coming to work with Ainsley. Meanwhile, Sir Fredrick Fleet of Scotland Yard believes that Ainsley is a murderer and that there’s no way there can be a vampire.

Director Lew Landers also made 175 other movies, with probably The Raven being his best-known film.

It’s pretty wild that Columbia did everything they could to make their own Dracula movie. Universal did threaten to sue, as they had the Lon Chaney Jr.-starring Son of Dracula coming out. If you think you may have seen this before, it is the movie playing in Iron Maiden’s video for “Number of the Beast.”

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