Now that is some great Jano artwork above these words….and this is a great Spanish horror and sex combo plate from the golden year of 1972! All of the elements of a classic vampire film are here…. a doctor enters a small (Spanish) village to cure the local Barons father of a weird disease-a blood disease no less… Fangs to follow and everyone gets terrorized. But Curse of the Vampire (which is the title on the print I watched) takes these tried and true tropes as a starting point and ladles on a sex and blood drenched sauce of Spicy Spaniard Sensuality to make it incredibly enjoyable. To be honest, I’ve got stacks of Spanish horrors lying about, but I get them all jumbled up and the constantly shifting titles games gets me confused. I purchased this DVDr from Midnight Video at least 5 years ago, probably longer, and by the luck of the Halloween Horrors draw it was my good fortune to find it again.
I knew right away this was going to be good, because on of my favorite faces of Amando de Ossorio cinema, Loretta Tovar, pops up right as things get started. And she has fangs…and gets staked gorily!! That means she is coming back and will run roughshod all over the cast at some point, but I could not have foreseen just how great that would be. After her character, Margaret, is put down the film shifts forward to show us the arrival of Doctor Dora Materlick (what a name!!) and her beautiful assistant Erica (Beatriz Elorrieta) and they promptly settle in with that classic “science rules, superstition is for fools” attitude that always gets you stuck on the business end of a fang. They are coming in to town to take care of Baron Rysselbert’s father-who is afflicted with a strange disease. Seems about right….and then Carl (Nicholas Ney)-a handsome enough, in a creepy way, guy who swoops right in on Erica. There is a problem…the full moon is on the way and evil is afoot, because these particular vampires sprout fangs and go berserk only with that particular condition being met. Weird, but cool!
It doesn’t take long before Carl introduces Erica to the dark side of this particular bloody moon and now we have her ready to serve her new found mistress…because I’ve just been waiting for Margaret to get back on the scene. And she does, because she is quickly de-staked and pops up in a little nightie. Luckily Erica is dressed the same way, they frolic and go for a quick nights suck snack!
From here on out, things don’t really get innovative, but they do get quite out of control! Considering the shooting conditions in Spain at the time, I was aware that I was lucky and watching an export print of this movie, but it is HEAVY on the sex when the time is right. The cast falls under the thrall of Margaret in a big way, and none more than a poor lass that decides it would be fun to read the paper nude! Vampires have a funny way of slipping up on you while you read about the local sports scene nude. Or do anything nude actually. But reading the paper? They must have run out of props before shooting this…but I like it.
What happens up there is the ultimate in nipple rubbing vampirism-and a chance to witness the somewhat rare, yet charming, Spanish vampire trend of sapphic sucking that does not involve any necks, barring the neck strain of the dedicated lesbian vampire. I guess when you are undead there isn’t any chance of that anyway! Seriously, Loretta Tovar fans (anyone?) will be happy. I’m still smiling.
From here on out we go straight to the horror, and I’m recommending you check it out today. Right after you finish reading this, find a copy and settle in for a real treat full of Spanish sin, sex and vampiric salvation!
There is a lot of things to recommend this film. Spanish horror films do not have the same vibe to them as the Italian productions of the same time, and Curse of the Vampire has the exact feel nailed down. It feels at times like you are watching a weird Hammer film with the Bavarian castle and the beautiful vampire women running around, but no Hammer film I’ve seen embraces the weird and sensual the way a full blooded Spanish film will. The horror elements seem the same, but the way they are used is different. And I’ve NEVER encountered a film outside of the Jean Rollin canon that features a torture chamber of female vampirism that includes licked feathers (?) as a method of torment slash pleasure. And just as with the Hammer films, this does not feel much like a Rollin film either.
I am more familiar with director Jose Maria Elorrieta’s film Night Of The Devils, which was made just before Curse of the Vampire. I will have to go back and watch it again to compare them (the true joy of Eurotrash Cinema for me)-because the man has jumped up my list of respected directors. The handling of the vampires in this film is even more exciting than all of the nipple rubbing and crotch tickling. Well, not when Beatriz Elorrieta is on screen and I’m hoping that I’m not drooling over the director’s daughter-but hey, he put her out there and I’m just here to enjoy and report. Anyways…
The vampire legend gets some tweaking in this film, the usual stakes and mirrors and thralling is all there, but my favorite part of the film is that the change from human to vampire with Carl is much more like a werewolf than the traditional Draculatic repetition I’m accustomed to. Nicholas Ney (is this his real name and is this really his only film??) is great and his sweating and bestial Nosferatu styled darker side is great. The first major transformation from man to vampire is stunning…while staring in a mirror Carl begins to sweat and suffer as he transforms over a wild soundtrack that builds and builds until his reflection vanishes and all sound goes with him. This is startling and the kind of sequence that I’ll return to and think should belong in any Eurotrash Cinema collection of “this is cool” moments.
A great surprise and a sterling example of why I love not only European Horror films, but horror films and the joy of just grabbing a film and putting it in to the player with no advance warning or reputation. Try it…you just may like it. That is if you like sexy vampire stories with equal parts horror and sex. If you don’t…well, I can’t believe you read this far!
Happy Halloween Horrors!