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The Return of Dracula (1958)

Sometimes, a vampire just wants to relax.

But in this teen-filled vampire movie from 1958, “The Return of Dracula” – Dracula – the King of All Vampires, The Lord of Darkness, Vlad the Impaler, decides to retire.

He leaves the moderate climate of Europe and, for some reason, settles down in a little podunk town in California with your Nana, your annoying little brother and your sullen teenage boyfriend.

That’s right, the most powerful supernatural creature known to man decides that he wants to downsize and retire to California where he can hit on young teenage girls and avoid going to church.

That is a really weak way for The Return of Dracula.

The Episode

Words From The Watchdog

Well, Bill Warren didn’t have anything to say about this one, because “Keep Watching The Skies” is a science fiction compendium, and there’s no way this is a science fiction movie.

I still wanted to share some thoughts on the movie, and I found Tim Lucas, of Video Watchdog fame, had a very nice review of the film up on his site, so we’re going to go with his thoughtful words.

In retrospect, there are a few other things that no one can take away from THE RETURN OF DRACULA. First of all, Francis Lederer’s performance as Dracula remains completely original in its approach to the character, if that is indeed who he is. Secondly, it is arguably the first film to present vampires in a truly modern context – even if that context happens to be set in a small town “where nothing ever happens.”

I highly recommend Tim’s site for finding out even more about the movies we all love, and gotta give a hard agree with Tim’s thoughts on the film.

Francis Lederer is amazing as the vampire we’re going to call Dracula, and I would have paid good cash money for him to either do more films, get better scripts, or something, because he is just mesmerizing.

His smoldering looks, his native accent, and his sheer presence on celluloid lifts this movie way higher than it has any right to be.
Without Lederer, this movie sinks down into the teen romance genre, holding on by its fingertips to any sort of horror content.

I am definitely sad for what could have been.

The Links

Francis Lederer (Wikipedia) (IMdb); Obituary (New York Times) (Variety)
“Francis Lederer, the Forgotten Dracula” (Lloyd’s Beware the Blog)
“The Count of Canoga Park, and My Mental CD Player” (Alan K. Rode)
Filmfax, Issue #121 – “Francis Lederer, a Man of Many Worlds” – Article by Charles P. Mitchell and others.

The Return of Dracula (Trailer, YouTube); (Blu-Ray, Amazon); (Amazon Prime Streaming); (Free, YouTube)

The Credits

I am very grateful to be able to use the music and sound effects of so many wonderful creators.
You can find a list of all music used, and all sound effects used, and links, here, on our Credits page.

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