The Spanish vampire 'classic' Malenka plays like a Mel Brooks parody of a Gothic horror movie, only much funnier. It stars the inimitable Anita Ekberg in two roles. As Italian supermodel Sylvia Morel, who (out of the blue) inherits a creepy old castle in Transylvania. As her villainous ancestress Malenka, a witch whose experiments in black magic cast a sinister shadow over the living and the undead. It seems that Malenka, in her depravity, turned most of her family into vampires. They now long for nothing more than La Ekberg to share their evil fate.
Families, eh? Without the hilarity of Ekberg's performance, Malenka would be a paltry thing indeed. The lovely Anita does not act as mere mortals do. She purrs, she pouts, she preens, she struts, she flounces. She gnaws away at her risible dialogue as though every line had been honed in her honour by Tennesee Williams or Edward Albee, at the very least. Her wardrobe is atrocious as only a 60s Bad Euro Movie wardrobe could ever be. Faced with a display of camp diva-dom this extreme, female impersonators can only hang up their wigs and admit defeat!
Not content with one Superlatively Awful Performance, Malenka also throws in Julian Ugarte as poor Sylvia's wicked uncle. Aided by two leggy vampire lovelies, he attacks his role with sneering, lip-curling sadism that would make Basil Rathbone blush for shame! This is all to the good, as Malenka grows insufferably dull whenever Ekberg or the baddies are off-screen. Director Armando de Ossorio may in fact have some flair for wide-screen composition, but my Dutch video copy is so horribly panned-and-scanned it's hard to tell.
Such minor quibbling aside, Malenka survives as an object lesson in Why We Love Bad Movies. Teamed with Ekberg's 1978 horror opus Killer Nun, it could be the comedy double bill of all time.
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