A pretty young Mexican girl returns to her hometown to make funeral arrangements for her beloved aunt, who has just died. Soon she begins to hear disturbing stories about the town being ... See full summary »
A pretty young Mexican girl returns to her hometown to make funeral arrangements for her beloved aunt, who has just died. Soon she begins to hear disturbing stories about the town being infested by vampires, and she eventually begins to suspect that her remaining aunt and the mysterious next=door neighbor may be involved. Written by
Interesting, but no competition for Christopher Lee.
Fernando Méndez' "El Vampiro" is atmospheric and competently made 50's Mexican horror, but it isn't nearly as mesmerizing as some of the contemporary genre-achievements coming from that same country, like "The Black Pit of Dr. M" (also directed by Méndez) and "Curse of the Crying Woman". This is mainly because the premise of the film hasn't got anything truly original to offer. Like the title implies already, it's a standard vampire tale with a plot revolving on a Hungarian count surviving on the blood of local Mexican women and hoping to resurrect his long lost brother from the dead. To achieve this, Count de Lavud needs to get inside the family vault of the Gonzalez' hacienda. He already seduced aunt Eloisa and made her one of his immortal brides, and when the beautiful niece Martha returns to the family mansion after several years, the count plans to take over her will as well. Martha's only hope for rescue lies with her mysterious traveling partner, a doctor of some sort, and her devoted uncle Emilio. The Gothic decors and the incredibly stylish black & white photography are a true lust for the eye, but the film is too talkative and lacking moments of genuine suspense. Multiple other reviewers around here seem convinced that this movie, and lead actor Germán Robles' performance in particular, severely influenced Hammer Studios before they came up with their interpretation of Dracula. Perhaps this is true, judging by the extended close-ups of Robles' penetrating stare, but still Christopher Lee portrays a much more petrifying and memorable monster. The entire middle section of the film drags a little and Méndez spends too much time on the relationship between Martha and Dr. Enrique. There are, however, hints at one really inventive sub plot in the script, involving a prematurely buried other aunt, but that particular storyline isn't properly elaborated like it should have. It's a shame about the story, but "El Vampiro" is nevertheless recommended viewing if it were for the sinister atmosphere and ominous set pieces alone.
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