|Index||4 reviews in total|
This Italian Vampire comedy really delivers. The location is a beautiful castle turned Grand Hotel at sunny coast of Italy. Christopher Lee successfully revives his most famous role with a well timed comic twist. And there are lots of sexy 1950s girls (including the stunning Sylvia Koscina) that get bitten. Of course it does not get too sexy. It's still a 1950s movie and some comedy might feel a little bit dated. But that's also the charm of this enjoyable romp. They don't do it like that any more! It's a time capsule that deserves to be rediscovered. Although it's not (and never will become) a classic, I did not regret the spent time and money.
The English title is "Uncle was a Vampire" and it stars Christopher Lee. I know this from watching it on TV sometime in the in the 60's. Trivia note: IMDb doesn't know this. Note the lack of English translation in Lee's bio for this movie, And his name isn't top, or anywhere near the top of the cast list. The movie was made in Italy, but the humor translates quite well. The English dubbing is good and it even has a believable happy ending. Call this "black humor lite", little blood and no gore. Which will probably turn off most kids/tweens/teens weaned on "First Blood", "Twilight", etc. The biting/gore is similar to "Love at first Bite" except uncle isn't Dracula, just a Vampire. Just a Vampire!?!? The story is simple and entertaining: man inherits hotel, uncle comes to visit, uncle is a Vampire and local women fall under his spell. Yes, hilarity ensues. Christopher Lee has a funny side and his comic timing is spot on. Consider it an undiscovered gem and well worth renting/downloading for the laughs. 9 out of 10 for being a funny and romantic vampire movie. In short, a date movie that both will enjoy.
For those who care, this Italian film is dubbed into English and it's
not a bad dubbing at all, though you might be surprised to hear a
totally different voice coming out of Christopher Lee!
In "My Uncle Was a Vampire", Christopher Lee parodies his vampire roles with moderate success. The idea is clever, but the film, at times, is overlong and has trouble maintaining momentum.
When the film begins, the vampire, Rodrigo (Lee), is leaving his home and going to live with his Italian nephew, Baron Oswaldo (Renato Rascel). Little does he know that Oswaldo has fallen on hard times and the government is forcing him to sell his castle to pay back taxes. And, by the time Rodrigo arrives, Oswaldo is just a lowly bellboy in the new castle hotel. What follows is a strange little comedy--with Lee playing it straight and diminutive Rascel handling the humor. At one point, Oswaldo becomes sort of a part- time vampire---and a lot of other strange canon busting things occur in this one.
While I like the idea of the film (sort of like a precursor to "Love at First Bite"), the film is overly long and Rascel alone isn't funny enough to keep the film moving along at a good pace. Still, it's pleasant and diverting...and the ending is pretty cute.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Because he owes back taxes to the government, Baron Osvaldo
Lambertenghi (Renato Rascel) is forced to sell his family's castle. The
new owners turn the castle into a hotel and hire Osvaldo as a bellboy.
Osvaldo receives a letter telling him an uncle he's never met, Baron
Roderico da Frankurten (Christopher Lee), intends to pay Osvaldo a
visit. Osvaldo is unaware that his long lost uncle is, in fact, a
vampire. Roderico arrives and much hilarity ensues as he turns Osvaldo
into a sort of temporary vampire. In one night, Osvaldo bites every
woman in the hotel on the neck and has them all swooning for him.
I love a lot of Italian cinema from the 50s through the 70s. I enjoy Italian Gothic horror, Gialli, Spaghetti Westerns, Eurospy, Poliziotteschi, Peplums, war movies, cannibal movies, zombie movies, and even some straight up dramas. But, with a few exceptions, I've never been a big fan of Italian comedies. Maybe something gets lost in the translation, but the broad approach to comedy taken in most of these movies just doesn't work with me. And that's my main problem with Uncle Was a Vampire. Most, but not all, of the comedy doesn't work on me. I didn't find most of Rascel's brand of comedy appealing. Instead, Rascel annoyed me not what you want in a comedy. Sure, there were bits a pieces that worked all the women going nuts over Osvaldo, all the men in the hotel running around with wooden stakes, and some of Rascel's scenes with Christopher Lee. Overall, however, the comedy was inconsistent at best.
Speaking of Christopher Lee, he's quite good in Uncle Was a Vampire. For the most part, he plays it straight and it works. Standing next to the diminutive Rascel, Lee looks huge and menacing. Lee probably has more vampire screen time here than in any of his Hammer films. The cast also includes the lovely Sylva Koscina. While her role is more limited that I would prefer, as I've said before, any movie with Sylva Koscina is better simply because she's in it. Uncle Was a Vampire is worth watching just to check out Lee and Koscina. As a result, I'll be generous and rate this movie a 5/10.
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