Mario Bava’s directorial debut. A hybrid mystery and mad-scientist picture. In contemporary Paris, young women are turning up drained of blood. The press labels the killer a vampire. Michaelis plays a reporter determined to uncover the culprit. The case leads him to his estranged cousin, her gothic castle, and the secrets they hold.
Bava—who also serves as cinematographer—evokes a memorable gothic atmosphere with his use of light and shadow. He also pulls off a special effect reminiscent of Lon Chaney’s famous transformation in The Wolf-Man that holds up today.
That said, he can’t overcome the predictable script leaden with exposition.