Mario Bava’s directorial debut. A hybrid mystery and mad-scientist picture. In contemporary Paris, young women turn up drained of blood. The press screams vampire. Dario Michaelis plays a reporter determined to uncover the truth. The case leads to his estranged cousin, her gothic castle, and the secrets they hold.
Bava—who also serves as cinematographer—exerts expert control over light and shadow to evoke a lush gothic atmosphere. And—as special effects lead—pulls off a transformation sequence reminiscent of Lon Chaney Jr.’s in The Wolf-Man.
But Bava’s visual prowess can’t overcome the predictable script leaden with exposition.