Friday, May 24, 2013

Count Dracula's Great Love (1974)

This movie is bustling and bursting with bustiers and societal women who seem all too willing to be "Dracula's" victims while flaunting their sexuality. Or perhaps it's just the mystique of the great castle owned by the mysterious Dr. Marlowe which makes them so frisky.

The segue from innuendo to an orgy of blood and boobs is a quick transition and then the plot steamrollers towards a climax which may or may not keep with the Dracula mythos. Regardless it's a beautifully shot film despite its many dark scenes which are generally the most poignantly haunting.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Last Man on Earth (1964)

It's impractical to categorize this as simply a vampire movie since there is minimal vampirism either explicitly or implicitly implied or witnessed and could just as well be called a zombie flick. Having seen probably a hundred different vampire flicks throughout the years I can't say that I was dissatisfied with this one on that basis alone. In fact, I actually enjoyed it despite thinking that Vincent Price's acting was a tad wooden, mis-cast and stereotypical in parts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Grave of the Vampire (1972)

This is definitely a B-movie vampire flick though I think it has some merit as a serious horror picture despite the mostly hokey sci-fi flavoring. I don't like to give spoilers or even much in the way of plot lines, since I like to be surprised by movies, so I won't indulge in much of that.

What I will say though is that despite the campy beginning and the prototypical finale, the acting is pretty solid and there are some serious, albeit brief elements of occultism and vampirism explored here. It's worth the watch if you're really into the genre or want a few B-movie laughs but if it's mere blood and gore that you're after you'll be sorely disappointed after the opening scenes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Vampire Bat (1933)

I don't particularly like old movies but this one is very well-acted and the plot golden until about 3/4 of the way through when it begins to dissolve into hackneyed malarkey.

In the interim it's a solid cast of supporting actors around the two main protagonists Melvyn Douglas and Lionel Antwill, and the token superstar Fay Wray (King Kong), who stars but in a supporting role.

This is hardly horror in the modern sense but does serve well as a mystery with science fiction and paranormal (psychic vampirism) elements interjected. Much of the action is in the dialogue and the first attack by the "vampire bat" doesn't happen until almost 20 minutes in with the attacker appearing off camera.

It's worth a watch for nostalgic sake but quite disappointing in the traditional sense of vampire flicks. Then again, it is an 80-year-old movie.

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(spoilers below!)

The New York Times, January 23, 1933
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 20, 1933

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vampire Circus (1972)

Vampire Circus is in league with many of the early 1970s vampire flicks which provide a sound story line, some gore and, of course, boobs. Which makes sense since the Hammer film company that produced this flick was also responsible for many of the pictures in this genre during the time.

In a nutshell the movie revolves around a count who is slain by the townsfolk for abducting women and children. His gypsy vampire family forms a circus and travels Europe avenging his death. Only when they kill those responsible for putting down the count and feed him their lifeblood can he return from the moribund state of the undead. If that isn't enough to sucker you in then the fact that there's a burgermeister involved ought to.

New York Times, October 12, 1972
Critics at the time of its original release weren't quite as impressed. New York Times film reviewer Howard Thompson dismissed it outright without even the courtesy of a proper review in favor of its double-billing Hammer counterpart "Countess Dracula". His curt review measured two sentences, "Wise horror fans will skip 'Vampire Circus' and settle for 'Countess Dracula' on the new double bill at the Forum. Both are Hammer Productions, England's scream factory, but the first was dealt a quick, careless anvil." before continuing his semi-praise for "Countess Dracula."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Las Vampiras (Vampyros Lesbos) (1971)

This movie begins with sex, segues into sex and minor vampirism and ends with sex and death. In between there is much faux lesbianism where hot chicks peck at each others bodies but never really go Ellen Degenerate-esque lesbo, mental illness, a groovy ass soundtrack and about as much vampire gore as you'll get from a box of Count Chocula.

That's not to say it doesn't have merit as an erotic vampire movie. It's just not a horror movie and your Anne Rice brand of vampire is long deceased in this realm. The scenery and architecture utilized is quite excellent and adds to the dream-like flavor of a rather plot-less flick.

I've watched this movie a handful of times over the years and have yet not to fall asleep during it. I don't know if it's the subtitles, the avalanche of nudity over-riding the senses or that the movie truly sucks despite my denials that it's an art film.

Unfortunately, both the translation and closed caption features seem to be unavailable for this embed of the movie (the previous one posted was deleted by YouTube; hence, the caption below in the still photo) but having watched it with those options it's safe to say that the dialogue isn't essential to the "plot."

My other hack observations include these two sort of lookalikes:

 The boyfriend of the victim who reminds me of that David Boreanaz dude.

And the crazy chick who is 55% blonde version of a young Tori Amos and 45% Laura Dern.

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