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You know I really was looking forward to seeing this movie, by only having read the synopsis. It's about this woman, Sylvia, who inherits a family castle in Italy. The other thing I knew, was that it was a (horror) movie from 1969. I didn't even know it was directed by Amando de Ossorio, the director who also was responsible for the infamous BLIND DEAD "quadrilogy". If I had known this, I might have looked forward to it even more. But anyway, given the premise and the year this movie was made in, I was expecting an atmospheric Gothic Horror movie with at least a bit of gruesome or scary material in it. Well, I wasn't even halfway right. This is indeed a pathetic attempt at Gothic Horror, but the atmosphere isn't as effective as it should be and the story is uneventful and very predictable. I mean, yeah, there are a couple of scenes with red and blue lighting in some tombs underneath the castle that, when watched from a distance, vaguely look like something Mario Bava might have cooked up while he was drunk. But that's about it, as far as mood and atmosphere goes.
I just don't get people that say "It's a Euro-Horror classic" and slap it with, for instance, 8/10. Yeah, it's an old horror movie. Yeah, it's from Europe. Does that make it automatically a decent genre-classic? If you want the answer to that, I'll just advice you to take Mario Bava's OPERAZIONE PAURA (aka KILL, BABY, KILL), and put it next to Ossorio's MALENKA and then tell me which one is the good movie and which the bad. Okay, yeah, I'm getting a bit carried away here, probably because I was disappointed after seeing this Ossorio snooze-fest. FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD is not completely without merits. Let's see The castle setting is (always) great, even if it just features people walking around in it. There's a couple of busty ladies showing cleavage. One even gets some whoopee from a whip, while chained in a dungeon. The rest of the movie has Sylvia's boyfriend discussing with the town's doctor whether or not vampires do exist. And yes, we do get to see more than a couple of fake white fangs, but no blood really. No scares, no action (and by "action" I don't mean stunts or fights, but just something eventful or a couple of good moments). The little background story about the great-grandma (when she was young and quite attractive) being a witch and experimenting with alchemy was about the most interesting thing about the whole plot. Someone on here even pointed out that this was a comedy of some sorts. Well sure, the version I've seen was a pretty bad movie, but I wouldn't exactly call it a comedy. Except for that final, idiotic running-over-the-bridge gag. Man, that was so misplaced So, I guess most of the movie's humor was lost on me. Apparently, there are different versions of this movie out there. Mine was about real vampires, had a stupid joke at the end, and only ran 74 minutes. And that, for me, was long enough.
I say FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD is strictly for avid Euro Horror fans. Bad movie-lovers won't even have fun with it, because it's just not bad enough (although the acting was pretty much laughter-stirring all the time). I'm not even mad I wasted my time on it, as it was part of a 9-movie box-set (called THE LIVING DEAD), and some of the other movies were more than worth it. So I'm not complaining. Oh well, after all there was a witch burning at a stake and a wooden stick got driven through a vampire's heart, so if you please, you can think up an extra point just for that. But the gag at the end still remains dumb.
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