Mother Riley Meets The Vampire (1952) – John Gilling

This comedic title which features the next machine menace in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies is a film that could have been filed under vampires or robots (though the vampire is definitely in it a lot longer than the robot).

Apparently Mother Riley films were a thing in the UK, the character is played by Arthur Lucan, and is actually quite comedic, playing on the old lady who finds herself in trouble trope. This one features Bela Lugosi as the titular Vampire, and though he’s not named Dracula, it’s very obvious who we are riffing.

Released as Mother Riley Meets the Vampire in England, it was released as Vampire Over London as well as My Son the Vampire, and while Lugosi tries to play it as straight as he can, while still being a brilliant, if undead scientist there is a lot of humour to be laughed at.

Mother Riley gets pulled into the story, while having trouble with her shop, when a delivery meant for the newly arrived Vampire arrives instead at her shop, and he gets some of her goods.

The delivery is in fact a robot, created by the Vampire, the first of a series apparently. And it is summoned back to its actual destination with Mother Riley in tow.

She is quite enchanted with the Vampire when they meet, and thinks he has a crush on her, and she eagerly takes up a position in his household, but things unravel pretty quickly… and once the Vampire’s true nature is discovered, Mother Riley is eager to be shot of the entire situation.

There is a goofy musical number, lots of English humour, and some very silly moments, all while Lugosi menaces as much as he can without seeming to chew the scenery.

Lucan is very funny, and I imagine these films were pretty popular with the audiences at the time. That being said the thought process that went into the story is a little questionable – it all hinges on misunderstandings and the like, and the robot is a little silly but I actually enjoyed myself watching this one.

There are more titles to come yet in DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, so why not pick one up for yourself and find something monstrous to watch tonight!

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