“There’s a power strong enough to destroy the world buried within each of us.”
Nancy Perkins (Sandra Harrison) is shipped off to a private school when her father (Thomas Browne Henry), who has only been widowed for six weeks, remarries, (“a dame” as my mother would say). Her father also wants to separate her from her boyfriend Glenn (Michael Hall).
Miss Branding (Louise Lewis) is the chemistry teacher at “The Sherwood School for Girls”. She has developed a thesis that looks at the destructive power of the individual compared to the destructive power of the atom. She is frustrated with the dismissal of her theory from the male-dominated academics in her field. Miss Branding is looking for a test subject that she can use to bring out that hidden power. Her interest lands on Nancy. Miss Branding hypnotizes her. While under hypnosis Miss Branding takes away Nancy's will. She uses an amulet she bought from an old immigrant woman who came from the Carpathian Mountains.
One evening, after Nancy’s initiation party, Nola, another student, is sent to the supply room to get supplies for the next day. Nancy, feeling faint, goes to her room to lie down. The rest of the girls start cleaning up. The next day Nola is found dead. She has two puncture wounds on her neck and is drained of blood. Then at a scavenger hunt, on Halloween, Nancy turns into a vampire and kills two more people.
The next day, all the girls are given a lie detector test. With Miss Branding’s help, and the amulet, Nancy passes with flying colors. Nancy, on the other hand, has started to suspect that all is not well. When her boyfriend Glenn comes to see her, she is overwhelmed with the desire to kill him. Now in a panic she looks to Miss Branding for help and guidance. Miss Branding, on the other hand, is experiencing her own power trip in controlling Nancy and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep that control.
“Blood of Dracula” was released in 1957 and was directed by Herbert L. Strock. This rather obscure AIP film should have been called “I was a Teenage Vampire”. It is basically a female version of “I was a Teenage Werewolf” complete with female psychiatrist and hypnosis and has nothing to do with Dracula. This movie is arguably the third installment of the AIP teenage monster movie quadrilogy.
Many find it to be a superior movie than “Teenage Werewolf”. Perhaps in some ways it is. It’s more dramatic and serious. “Teenage Werewolf”, on the other hand, was campier. Something that I enjoyed about “Teenage Werewolf”. Is one movie better than the other? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you are looking for silly camp go with “Teenage Werewolf”. If you’re looking for something that shows strong women characters and men as ineffectual and unimpressive, then “Blood of Dracula” has that. But don’t look for Dracula.
If you are interested in all the AIP movies that comprise the unofficial quadrilogy they are “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” (1957), “I Was a Teenage Frankenstein” (1957), “Blood of Dracula” (1957), and “How to Make a Monster” (1958).