Not As He Appears – The Vampire’s Ghost (1945)

Whether describing spies, illicit lovers or creatures of the night, the very best ones are those that can hide in plain sight and for a vampire, it is somewhat essential. There are some drawbacks, like the whole daylight thing, but for those that can keep their bloodlust in check, living an eternal life amongst the general population is not such a hard thing as they have no reason to suspect otherwise. In the case of Webb Fallon, a nightclub owner who has recently moved to the village of Bakunda, there are none that have cause to believe the man is a vampire, nobody that is except the locals who know of Fallon’s true nature once the first bloodless corpse turns up. It is not too long after that Roy discovers what his friend Webb is, that Webb is a monster and must be put down before he can murder anyone else.

Despite running for only an hour, The Vampire’s Ghost from Republic Pictures turns out to be a somewhat moody affair, the atmosphere subdued as there is no room for anything but horror and suspense. It is not quite so good as those features pumped out by the Universal Monster Machine, but it does hold its own and director Lesley Selander does a great job at using whatever little budget is available to create as good a picture as possible. That being said, there are little to no special effects, Fallon as played by John Abbott a regular-looking guy whom one would never know had extraordinary powers. Instead, the film relies on its performers to deliver, to make it as compelling as possible and they do just that, perhaps not perfectly, but well enough that one never tires of the picture. Most interesting of all is the relationship between the two friends, Fallon and Roy, the latter of which is portrayed by Charles Gordon. To see them go from having each other’s backs to becoming enemies over the course of the film would draw the viewer in, the additional murders and such only an added bonus.

There was no blood present, though there was a bit of violence and the fact that the movie was set in Africa made it all that much more intriguing, for it is not too often that one sees a horror film set upon the ‘Dark Continent.’ For those that like films that fly under the radar, The Vampire’s Ghost is definitely one of them and is a very underappreciated gem from the golden age of horror.

3.5 out of 5

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