El mundo de los vampiros (1961) Poster

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Quite Good Subotai's World
Edgar Soberon Torchia17 December 2014
Mexican horror films are bizarre, as many know. They mix a bit of German Expressionism with their Spanish legacy, add a touch of local folklore, and come out with something quite original, even if the execution is betrayed by small budgets. This is the case of this peculiar item of my 2014 discoveries, a film that turned out to be much better than expected. Produced by Abel Salazar, star and producer of many of those films (including the classic "El vampiro"), it exceeds in atmosphere, zaniness and pretty women, as usual, with a handsome vampire this time: Guillermo Murray had just arrived from Argentina and was given the lead in this tale of vampires fighting for world supremacy. Murray plays Sergio Subotai, a European count that wants to take revenge from the last member of a family that hunted the undead and killed his own family. To achieve his goal he uses the man's nieces, two sisters played by Silvia Fournier who takes the leading lady role, and ex-Miss Mexico Erna Martha Bauman as the wicked sister. What Count Subotai did not count with is that there is a guy in town who has the ability to disturb hounds, call the undead, and neutralize vampires with strange pieces of music. Unfortunately Subotai only has an army of inefficient ugly batmen and sexy vampire girls. As in many of these productions, the tone is ironic and different elements make up for the shortcomings, as the admirable underground sets in Subotai's castle, and the dark cinematography, thanks to old pro Jack Draper. The score composed by Gustavo César Carrión for Salazar's production of "El vampiro" is used one more time to good effect. A recommended horror film with quite decent amusement value.
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THE WORLD OF THE VAMPIRES (Alfonso Corona Blake, 1961) **
MARIO GAUCI19 January 2011
Well, it seems like I spoke too soon about the superior quality of Mexi-Horrors vis-à-vis the Italian Gothics, as this is as goofy as they come – almost on a par, in fact, with the notorious THE BRAINIAC (1961; interestingly enough, directed by the helmer of the slightly better effort with which I followed it)! Anyway, back when the Casanegra DVD company folded, I had voiced my disappointment that their otherwise excellent line of releases would be no more. At the time, they had already announced the next two titles on the schedule and, in fact, they were the film under review and the Chano Urueta picture I was referring to earlier i.e. THE LIVING HEAD (1963)…so that I made it a point to somehow acquire them regardless!

As I said, however, the journey was somewhat more gratifying than the destination – this film in particular proving a veritable mess and enjoyable simply because of how ludicrous it was! First of all, this is one from the matinée idol days of the bloodsucker: as played by Guillermo Murray, the chief vampire here is so stiff that one expects to see moth-balls in his coffin! Besides, given the over-sized neck of his cape, one would not have been surprised to see him extract an electric guitar from some corner of his hide-out cave and break into a Glam Rock number at some point in the proceedings (after all, he frequently sits at his skull-adorned pipe-organ and summons his minions with some funereal sonata)!

Incidentally, music plays a pivotal role here: in fact, the hero is himself a gifted pianist with a great knowledge of how certain melodies can affect the listener (while hilariously looking like a dead-ringer for Clark Gable) – and the first time the two meet is at a party given by the descendants of the Count's sworn enemies (named Colman and with their eldest member played by Jose' Baviera from Luis Bunuel's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL [1962]!), where it transpires that the bloodsucker cannot stand old Transylvanian melodies (the grimaces he spontaneously makes at this are side-splitting)!

In any case, he manages to notch up a few victims along the way, beginning with a couple driving along a desolate stretch of road at night. Atypically, while the vampirization of the girl here has to follow a certain ritual (laboriously illustrated throughout the film no fewer than three times!), the male is mysteriously turned into a hideously hirsute creature (to take its place amongst the Count's deformed disciples)!! There is also the obligatory hunchback/mute servant who turns up long enough to be chastised for intruding on his master's 'meditation' and, later, to engage in a violent fisticuff with the hero!

By the way, the latter falls prey to the monstrous 'bug' himself but, since the transformation is gradual, only his hands ever sprout hair…but which does not prevent him from taking to the pipe-organ at the climax and bring down the vampire since, like I said, musical notes can just as soon drive the bloodsucker off-the-wall as serve the function of a 'clarion call' to his sub-human underlings. And, given that the Count's cavernous abode is conveniently supplied with a pit which has large spikes protruding from the ground, it is inevitable that he would ultimately get his come-uppance in this grisly fashion (with one of Colman's own daughters, similarly afflicted, joining him soon after)!
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It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World ….of Vampires!
Coventry15 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
~ the spoilers are only minor ~ During the first minutes of the opening sequence, when the vampire (Guillermo Murray) emerges from his coffin and descents further down to the catacombs of his sinister castle, you'll inevitably think that this is the typical opening of just another routine Gothic vampire movie with a textbook storyline and an overuse of all the dreadful clichés of the genre. However, you're promptly forced to think differently, because "The World of Vampires" introduces a handful of ingenious new themes and unusual gimmicks before the same opening sequence is even finished and the credits start to roll! "The World of Vampires" is a very interesting, albeit slightly ridiculous, variation on the good old fashioned topic of vampires, as the ambitious script presents an entirely new (and goofy) method to kill malicious vampires! The key element in "World of Vampires" is music! Music to control the acts and movements of vampire-slaves, music to wake the dead and music to destroy them! So forget about wooden stakes through the heart, stinking garlic and dull natural sunlight! Just play some rhythmic tunes. The plot may be a little unusual and slightly experimental, but director Alfonso Corona Blake nevertheless remains faithful to the Gothic style and atmosphere of other contemporary Mexican horror-highlights. This means the film is literally stuffed with fog-enshrouded cemeteries, mentally disabled & hunchbacked servants, loud and eerie thunderstorms and much, much more! To get back to the plot: Count Subotai isn't just any random vampire, he's a vampire with a mission! More than 300 years ago, vampires tried to wipe out the human race and take over the earth, but one man named Colman prevented them from doing so. Now Subotai has to complete the mission, but not before he eliminated the last three descendants of the Colman family, namely an elderly man and his two ravishing nieces. Unfortunately for him, one of the girls' lover researches the influence of various tunes played on the piano and discovers an interesting sound. Okay, the plot is pretty stupid if you think of afterwards, but at least it's compelling as long as the film lasts and it's finally something different! Guillermo Murray is probably one of the least menacing vampire ever, but his organ made of skulls & bones is spooky and especially his army of docile slaves are genuinely creepy! They all wear identical masks and walk even slower than the zombies in "Night of the Living Dead", but damned they scared me! He also has a collection of gorgeous vampire wenches, but they mainly just serve to decorate the cavern beneath his castle. There are probably too many weird scenes and absurd twists to really call "The World of Vampires" a great piece of Mexican horror, but it's definitely an admirable and entertaining effort.
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Death by Too Many Musical Notes
BaronBl00d23 July 2006
Throughout vampire lore from film we have been introduced to the various ways in which to slay a vampire: direct sunlight, over-exposure to a Crucifix, destroying the coffin of the vampire, killing the head vampire, and, of course, the customary stake through the heart. Not the case in this cheap Mexican vampire film where just hearing a tune with certain notes on an organ or piano does the trick. This film is bad - just no doubt about it, but it is a fun, bad film that had me rolling from beginning to end. The film basically chronicles one vampire's quest to rid the remaining ancestors of the man that offended him so many years ago - the Colman clan. And hearing a suave-looking, highly accented "foreign" vampire just say the name Colman is a real hoot. But it doesn't end there but rather begins. This vampire goes into lengthy soliloquies on why he must get every last Colman. He gives these over-enunciated diatribes while using some of the most over-exaggerated looks from any film vampire. Throw in a bunch of other equally "talented" actors with a threadbare plot and you have the ingredients for a whole lot of unintentional hilarity. Guillermo Murray plays the offended Count with such a lack of subtlety that I could not take my eyes off him nor could I stifle my laughs. He must get the last three surviving relatives: a father and his two beautiful daughters who are being visited by a musician/composer played by Mauricios Garces(in the Van Helsing role - kind of). Throw out standard vampire lore here as this film invents all kinds of new lore - whether it be logical or more likely highly illogical. While a pretty amazingly bad film in many ways, it does offer some highly atmospheric shots in a cave/crypt, the Count playing an organ, and one neat for its time transformation shot. A whole lot of fun at any rate!
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Classic Mexican Horror Film
FloatingOpera722 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
From 1961, this vampire film as some critic has already mentioned lacks the more chilling or impressive aspects of some later vampire films. It is nothing like American vampire films starring Bela Lugosi or Christopher Reeves. The Mexican actor who portrays the head vampire played the same part in various films. He has a touch of sex and elegance as well as wicked intensity. The plot: a brilliant pianist in decent society is truly a vampire who controls people with music- an organ. He has a huge vendetta against the Coleman family who are vampire-hunters. He makes one of the Coleman daughters into a vampire and is about to do the same to another when he is stopped in his tracks by a vampire hunter who catches on to his power and plays the organ so that the vampires become inactive. The film is long and talky and there are only a few moments of real horror. Most of the film depends on the mood and the atmosphere. It is well done for what it is but it's in Spanish and it's a low-budget production and should only be viewed by Mexican horror fans who would truly appreciate its place in cinema.
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South of the border fang fun!
evilskip3 June 2001
Ahh youth.I remember struggling to stay up to see this at 1:30am on a friday night back in the late 1960's.Needless to say when the first vampire attack happened I shot up to my room for the night.

This recently came out on dvd after being bootlegged for years.So it was nice to see a print that while a bit speckled was superior to the tapes.

The plot boils down to the evil Count and his plans of revenge against the Colman family.There has been much blood spilled between the two and this night may prove to be the end of the line for the Colman family (a man and his two nieces).

Count Subotay (Subotai?) plays an organ made of human bones and skulls in his misty underground lair. He summons his minions to help him carry out his plot against the Colmans.His female vampires are pretty hot looking.The male vampires are blind, hairy handed(a self abuse warning perhaps?) and quite ugly.Of course this way the Count can keep the women for himself.

A young couple is viciously attacked to begin the evening.Then the Count moseys over to the Colmans to join a party.One of my faults with this movie lies in the fact that if your family has been decimated by vampires don't you think you'd do what you could to learn the name of the vamp?Especially after some strange pale dude in a tuxedo and cape shows up in your neighborhood?

We meet the hero (Rudy) and learn that vampires can be killed by a certain tune.He plays it on the piano and the Count does everything but wet his pants in screaming agony.He slams down the piano key cover on Rudy's hands(a la Tom & Jerry)to make him stop.

The Count leaves but he vampirizes one of the girls who in turn vampirizes Rudy.Rudy begins to grow hair on his hands and his eyesight begins to dim.Mr Colman vanishes and Rudy finally adds up that Subotay is a vampire and responsible for the attacks.

The film becomes a race against time.Rudy is captured and the other niece is prepared for vampiric sacrifice. Can Rudy defeat the Count before he turns into a mindless vampire creature?Will the Colman family be destroyed forever?

There is a lot of atmosphere and an oppressive mood in this film.It is better than most of the Mexican vampire films(Bloody Vampire,Invasion Of The Vampires or the Nostradamus series).But it does fall short of El Vampiro (then again so do most vampire films).

Worth picking up if you can find it cheap.
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