Saturday, 3 August 2013
The Bloody Vampire
Wanted: female servant for general duties in the residence of Count Seigfried Von Frankenhausen. Disappearance of previous employee necessitates immediate start. Pay to be negotiated. Living quarters provided.
In this particular case, 'living quarters' means a casket in Von Frankenhausen's underground cave, joining a macabre collection of females who were abducted by the Count (Agosti). While Frankenhausen keeps his new bride (Moss) firmly under lock and key, oblivious to his nocturnal hobby, his sworn enemy, Count Cagliostro (Raxel) agrees that daughter Anna (Palacios) should embark on a fact-finding mission as an undercover maid. Soon, Anna comes up against Frau Hildegarde (Bauman), the Count's loyal confidante, and can only rely on a dazed and confused manservant and a doubting Doctor, who possess all the intellect and logic of your average police inspector.
With a running time of 100 minutes, The Bloody Vampire threatens to outstay it's welcome on several occasions, with long, overly talkative passages containing little to hold the attention. A crying shame really, as the opening minutes promise so much, with a coach and horses silently gliding through woods, driven by a cloaked skeleton and only stopping to regard the body of a man hanging from a tree. The coach's arrival at the Frankenhausen abode - where Frau Hildegarde greets the occupants, surrounded by swirling mist - is, like the previous scene, reminiscent of Murnau's Nosferatu but that's where the comparison ends, leaving Agosti's Count to instigate sudden bursts of other-worldly menace, aided by some decent set designs which come alive as lightning flashes and shadows leap off walls.
Overall, there's just about enough here to repay the viewing time invested, and those with a benevolent sense of humour will love the straight-faced in-fighting between the Count, his wife and their servants; a Mexican version of 'Upstairs, Downstairs' with some rather sadistic torture scenes thrown in for good measure.
Oh yes, and you'll love the wonderful half-bat, half-rabbit creature near the end.