Count Karnstein sends for a doctor to help his sick daughter Laura. Her nurse believes she is possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor;Carmilla. A young woman becomes intrigued by the ... See full summary »
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John Llewellyn Moxey
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Filmed in Odescalchi Castle and Lake Bracciano near Rome. A group of dropouts find an old man (Lee) in a castle. The old man subsequently turns into the Devil and seizes them. Filmed in ... See full summary »
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Count Karnstein sends for a doctor to help his sick daughter Laura. Her nurse believes she is possessed by the spirit of a dead ancestor;Carmilla. A young woman becomes intrigued by the mysterious deaths surrounding Laura after a carriage accident outside the castle forces her to stay. They become close friends until Laura becomes convinced the spirit of Carmilla is forcing her to kill. Written by
Randy Van Ort <email@example.com>
Gothic Lesbians and finger-pointing corpses; oh my!
One thing I could immediately appreciate about "Crypt of the Vampire" were the masterfully atmospheric opening sequences of a young girl, wandering around the woods by herself at night, and approaching an eerie and seemingly abandoned carriage. She spots something, dies instantly and we the viewers only witness the door of the coach slowly closing again. This was a wondrous mood-setter for an obscure and late 60's European horror gem with the inexhaustible Christopher Lee and directed by a random Italian dude who wanted to be as successful as Mario Bava ("Black Sunday") or Antonio Margheriti ("The Virgin of Nuremberg"). The heavenly beautiful Laura Karnstein, daughter of the honorable Count Ludwig played by Lee, witnesses the aforementioned opening sequence in a dream. Since she suffers from this kind of nightmares quite regularly, her concerned father seeks the help of the acclaimed Friedrich Klauss, who professionally restores manuscripts. Hopefully he can find a link between Laura and a notorious ancestor of the Karnsteins; a countess who reputedly kidnapped and killed young girls for the purpose of witchcraft. Is Laura really the reincarnation of her wicked ancestor, like the family curse states, or is the Count's young mistress Annette simply trying to drive the righteous heiress towards insanity? "Crypt of the Vampire" nearly isn't on par with some other contemporary European Gothic horror movies, but it's nevertheless a compelling and definitely worthwhile film. The script is full of obvious and slightly less obvious twists and occasionally even dares to touch certain taboo subjects, like subtle hints towards lesbianism. The Karnstein Castle is always shown from the same perspective, from beneath a hillside, but the interior filming locations are nice and gloomy. All the obligatory goth-horror elements are well represented, including thunderstorms, spontaneously dying candles, secret passageways, hidden vaults, etc. There are also a handful of uniquely grisly and genuinely horrific images in the film like the sight of a hunchback hanging dead from a chiming church bell, a corpse emerging from a coffin and pointing out who murdered her and voodoo practicing housemaids. Christopher Lee doesn't exactly give away his greatest performance ever, but even as a mediocre player he's still worth admiring. Luckily, in this case he also receives excellent support from the ravishing female cast members Adriana Ambesi and Véra Valmont.
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