Mother Riley Meets the Vampire

Mother Riley Meets the Vampire, also known as Vampire Over London or My Son, the Vampire, is a 1952 British horror comedy film directed by John Gilling, starring Arthur Lucan and Bela Lugosi that was filmed at Nettlefold Studios.[1]

Mother Riley Meets the Vampire
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Gilling
Produced byJohn Gilling
Stanley Couzins
StarringArthur Lucan
Bela Lugosi
Music byAllan Sherman (song My Son The Vampire)
CinematographyStanley Pavey
Fernwood Productions
Distributed byRenown Pictures (UK)
Blue Chip Films (US)
Columbia Pictures (US re-release 1963)
Release date
July 1952 (UK)
1963 (US release)
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

This was the final film of the Old Mother Riley film series, and did not feature Lucan's ex-wife and business partner Kitty McShane, whom he had divorced in 1951.

In 1963, a recut American version called My Son, the Vampire was released, featuring an introductory segment with a song by American comedian Allan Sherman.


Von Housen seeks to dominate the world from his headquarters in London with an army of 50,000 radar-controlled robots that are powered by uranium. He believes himself to be a vampire and has several young women abducted, most recently Julia Loretti, who has a map to a uranium mine that he needs for his robot army.

At the moment, Von Housen only has one functional robot which is supposed to be shipped to him but, through a mistake, is shipped to Old Mother Riley's store instead, with Mother Riley's package sent to Von Housen. Seeing Mother Riley's address in the label, Von Housen sends his robot to abduct Mother Riley and take her to his headquarters.



On the suggestion of producer Richard Gordon, Bela Lugosi had travelled to England to appear in a stage play of Dracula, which failed. He needed money to return to the US. Gordon persuaded fellow producer George Minter to use Lugosi in a movie in London. Arthur Lucan had starred in a sequence of Old Mother Riley movies and it was felt that Lugosi's presence in the cast might give it a chance of success outside England.[2]

Lugosi was paid $5,000 for his role. The plot was taken from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.[3]

Gordon says that although John Gilling was credited as producer, George Minter was the real producer. Filming took four weeks.[3]

Richard Gordon recalled that there were plans to shoot additional scenes with Lugosi and without Arthur Lucan for the American market, but the idea was never put into motion.

Gordon also stated that the film emphasised that Lugosi's character was not a real vampire so that it would get a U certificate allowing children, who were Old Mother Riley's biggest audience, to see it.[3]

Lucan's understudy Roy Rolland stood in for him in the more physical stunts in the film.


The film was not a success in the box-office and was not released in the US until 1963.[2]

It was to have been titled Carry On, Vampire for its American release but Anglo-Amalgamated successfully sued, with the title changed to My Son, the Vampire as a tie-in to Allan Sherman's My Son, the Folksinger hit comedy record.[4]


  1. "Mother Riley Meets the Vampire". British Film Institute. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  2. John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 16-21
  3. Tom Weaver, "My Son the Vampire", The Astounding B Monster accessed 18 March 2014
  4. pp.150-151 Weaver, Tom Richard Gordon Interview in Science Fiction Confidential: Interviews with 23 Monster Stars and Filmmakers McFarland, 01/01/2002


  • Frank J. DelloStritto and Andi Brooks, Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain (Cult Movies Pr; 1st Edition, September 2000)
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